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Illinois and Japan push for better StarLink testing and labeling

(January 16, 2001 – Cropchoice news) – In what it hopes will protect farmers still reeling from the StarLink debacle, the State of Illinois is taking steps to prevent the genetically engineered corn, or other unapproved biotech varieties, from entering export markets. Meanwhile, Japan likely will ask the United States to improve its testing of corn bound for export to the Asian nation.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture sent a letter to 251 registered seed dealers in the state in which it asked that they delay marketing any seed that the federal government has not approved for all uses in all major export markets.

Funny, it was almost one year ago that the Illinois Farm Bureau expressed concern over biotech to Monsanto.

In his letter to seed dealers, Joe Hampton, director of the Department wrote:

“For instance, we are evaluating emergency rules for the Illinois Seed Law that would require specific information on seed labels. Regulations which would require a clear statement indicating that the product was genetically modified, followed by the commonly used term for the characteristic, and labeling the percent of GMO material in a conventional non-GMO product, are just two options being considered for seed distributed in 2002.”

According to the Department, farmers should communicate with seed dealers and grain millers about what they’re going to plant next season.

Across the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese health ministry reportedly detected StarLink in a batch of corn that U.S. testing had found to be free of the biotech variety. This comes in the face of slow U.S. corn exports, some of which is due to foreign consumers’ rejection of genetically engineered foods.

Source: Farm Progress, AgWeb