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StarLink corn possibly shipped to Japan

(Monday, Dec. 30, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- According to these two stories, StarLink corn may have been shipped to Japan last week from the United States.

1. AgWeb, 12/27: Corn futures are are under pressure from unconfirmed rumors that a shipment of U.S. corn to Japan was found to contain Starlink material. Few other details are available.

Outside of this morning's weekly export sales report, traders have little other news to go on this morning. However, market bulls are disappointed that corn was unable to rally following a decent export sales total.


2. Randi Fabi, Reuters via Agnet, 12/27/02: WASHINGTON - U.S. exporters were cited as saying on Friday Japan has found trace amounts of unapproved StarLink corn in an American shipment bound for Tokyo's food supply, renewing fears that major trading partners may once again turn their backs on U.S. crops.

The story says that the return of StarLink corn comes as the United States tries to convince reluctant trading partners like the European Union and southern Africa that genetically modified crops are safe for consumers.

Three U.S. exporters were cited as telling Reuters that Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries late Thursday detected StarLink corn in a U.S. corn shipment in a vessel, The North King, docked at Nagoya harbor, with one quoted as saying, "We can confirm that in fact some food corn was detected as StarLink. They randomly test inbound corn for StarLink both food and feed corn."

Another U.S. exporter was quoted as saying the discovery would "create a problem for everyone. Everyone's gotten a little lazy. The Japanese government hasn't been testing that often. Now they'll be testing every boat again for the next month."

A Japanese embassy official in Washington was cited as saying he could not yet confirm that StarLink corn was found, but was checking with Tokyo.

A U.S. Agriculture Department official said the agency was unaware of Japan's findings on StarLink corn, but was looking into the matter.

"There hasn't been any communication with USDA from the Japanese government," said a USDA spokesman, who wished not to be identified. "All of our vessels are tested for StarLink."

USDA officials said they were surprised by the news since they believed all remaining StarLink corn was destroyed last year.