miércoles, abril 06, 2005

Common Dreams NewsCenter

An Honest Mistake?
by Liza Grandia

Syngenta admitted this week that, for over four years, it "mistakenly" sold hundreds of tons of an experimental corn seed not yet approved for human consumption.

Contaminating the world's food supply is becoming a habit for big agribusiness.

Back in 2000, a genetically-modified (GM) corn called StarLink was discovered in Taco Bell tacos. Manufactured by Aventis, StarLink was modified to be more insect-resistant through the insertion of a bacterial toxin into the corn's DNA. When eaten, however, it can provoke intense allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock. The EPA had banned StarLink corn from human consumption, but allowed it to be grown for animal feed and let Aventis regulate itself. Mysteriously, though, StarLink corn ended up at Taco Bell. In the ensuing scandal, more than 300 food products were recalled. But the story didn't end there.

In 2002, Friends of the Earth released a report documenting how StarLink and other banned GM-corn brands were sent as food "aid" to poor countries by USAID and the World Food Programme. Even worse, to Guatemala, the aid was donated as whole kernels-risking that poor farmers might use them as seed. This has already happened with corn that Mexico was forced to import from the U.S. under NAFTA. Former UC-Berkeley biologist Ignacio Chapela has documented extensive GM-contamination in the states of Oaxaca and Puebla.

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