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Taco Wars: Read All About It

(26 September - Cropchoice News) -- Since Kraft Foods announced the recall of over 2.5 million packages of Starlink Bt corn-contaminated taco shells on Saturday, the finger-pointing has been accelerating. How did it happen? The farm lobby, Dan Glcikman, grocers, biotech companies, activists, and everybody inbetween are putting in their two cents worth about the world's most famous potentially allergenic taco shells.

While it is still unclear how the mixup was made, it is probable that 1) the spillover will lead to more regulations and 2) at least some of the big company protagonists will point an accusing finger at farmers, who are easier to blame than others who are potentially responsible.

Aside from the many newspaper and other press stories, here's a wide selection of news items about the recall mess from industry, farm, and activist groups:

Kraft, a subsidiary of Philip Morris, admits the activists' accusation was correct and has recalled millions of boxes of taco shells. Kraft is calling for more regulation of biotech foods.

Ag Secretary Dan Glickman says America needs to do a better job segregating.

Taco Bell, which licensed its brand to Kraft, says it is replacing its restaurant taco shells with new stock from other providers, since it also bought some of its yellow corn from the same 225,000 ton a year Plainview, Texas mill which made the Kraft shells.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization is eating a lot of crow by admitting that Kraft's call for more regulation of biotech foods may have merit.

The powerful Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America also agrees with Kraft and isa calling for more biotech regulations.

GE Food Alert, the activist coalition that initially identified the contamination, is pushing for immediate and extensive government action.

After incorrectly suggesting that Genetic ID, the testing company that identified the contamination, might be wrong, Aventis, the seed company which makes Starlink, is keeping quiet and hasn't posted any relevant information to its website. (Genetic ID, meanwhile, has explained its tests in detail.)

Azteca Milling, a joint venture between ADM and Mexico's Gruma, provided the corn that was contaminated. Azteca isn't posting any information to the internet either, but you can still visit them online.

The American Corn Grower's Association says that there is a danger that incidents like this may lead to more and more of the burden of segregation being placed on farmers. ACGA says that the costs of segregation should be taken on by industry.