1.TODAY IN HISTORY - FOOD RECALL FIASCO!
2.WHAT THE STARLINK FIASCO TAUGHT US
3.FIVE YEARS ON - THE FIASCO CONTINUES
1.FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY
TODAY IN HISTORY
The Associated Press, Sep 22, 2005
Today is Thursday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2005. There are 100 days left in the year. Autumn arrives at 6:23 p.m.
Five years ago... Kraft Foods recalled all taco shells sold nationwide in supermarkets under the Taco Bell brand after tests confirmed they were made with StarLink, a genetically engineered corn not approved for human consumption.
2.WHAT THE STARLINK FIASCO TAUGHT US
The Starlink fiasco started in Autumn 2000 when an Aventis GM corn called StarLink showed up in taco shells in the U.S. It led to a massive recall of over 300 food brands.
The 'StarLink' gene also turned up unexpectedly in a second company's corn and in U.S. corn exports.
The Starlink fiasco has wide implications for the use of GM crops in farming.
BIG CONTAMINATION FACTOR
"In Iowa, StarLink corn represented 1 percent of the total crop, only 1 percent. It has tainted 50 percent of the harvest." - ABC NEWS November 28, 2000
Dale Farnham, an Iowa State University agronomist: "No one knows how far the corn pollen can travel, some studies have said a quarter of a mile."
"Aventis CropScience Wednesday was at a loss to explain why another variety of corn besides its StarLink brand is producing the [StarLink] Cry9C protein." - United Press International November 22, 2000, Second corn variety producing Cry9C
On the possibility of unintentional mixing of GM and non-GM post-harvest, agronomist Dale Farnham says: "There are no safeguards."
"The US Department of Agriculture claims to know where the maize - banned from all food use globally and only recently approved for US exports - is located. Aventis, the French firm which developed the genetically modified maize sold throughout the US maize belt in 1999 and 2000, says it knows, also. So do I: StarLink maize is everywhere." -
U.S. agricultural journalist Alan Guebert writing in Farmers Weekly, December 8, 2000
BIG LEMMING FACTOR... F-F-F-F-FASHION!
Donald White, a University of Illinois plant pathologist, on why US farmers have gone for GM corn: "...what happens is there is a herd mentality. Everyone has to have a biotech program."
White's view chimes in with a University of Iowa study on why farmers were growing GM soya which concluded, "It is interesting to note....that increasing crop yields was cited by over half the farmers as the reason for planting GMO soybeans, yet yields were actually lower".
BIG ECONOMIC FACTOR
US corn exports to big buyers are being hurt: "...traders in Tokyo said on Wednesday the discovery that StarLink's Cry9C protein had spread to another variety of corn only deepened doubts that U.S. corn can be kept free of genetic modification."
BAD FUTURE FACTOR
Analyst Dale Gustafson of Salomon Smith Barney:
"We have not yet seen GM wheat. If we did, we would be seeing the same problems in those consumer products."
US corn farmer and GM seed salesman, Nebraska, Dec 2000: "....you guys [US Government] created this monster; you clean it up. I have learned my lesson. No more GMO crops on this farm - ever." [quoted in UK 'Farmers Weekly' December 8, 2000]
(All quotes unless otherwise indicated taken from: 'Corn leaving bad taste in world markets as GMO worries build' , Reuters, Wednesday, November 22, 2000)
3.FIVE YEARS ON - THE FIASCO CONTINUES!
Three years after the starlink fiasco started the U.S. government was still finding Starlink in more than 1% of samples tested.
In 2005 StarLink was found contaminating food aid sent to Central America. (Starlink still in the food supply)
Also in 2005 we have...
1.The continuing Syngenta Bt10 corn fiasco which has lead to shipments of US grain contaminated by the rogue maize being impounded in both Europe and Japan.
"Japanese importers face the risk of sustaining huge losses from purchases of tainted U.S. corn cargoes. To avoid the risk of receiving tainted corn cargoes, some Japanese importers have bought Argentine and South African corn as alternatives to U.S. supply, traders said." (Ten shipments and 32,610 tons of tainted corn quarantined in Japan)
2.Tests on imports of American GM maize coming into the UK have shown it contains other unauthorised illegal GMOs. (Illegal GM varieties found in UK imports)
3.Around ports in Japan herbicide-resistant GM canola 'volunteers' have been found growing at five of the six Japanese ports where samples have been collected.
4.We've also had illegal GM rice turning up in China's supermarkets and very probably going into China's exports to the rest of the world.
5.Thailand is suffering a GM papaya contamination scandal even though it does not allow open field trials or commercial production or sales of GM papaya. (Test seems to show GM papaya rampant)
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