Engineered Corn Found in More Tacos


Thursday, October 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) — A variety of genetically engineered corn that isn't approved for food use has been found in a second brand of taco shells, according to tests done for groups opposed to biotech food.

Safeway stores issued a recall Wednesday night for taco shells it sells after learning of the latest test results, said Mark Helm, a spokesman for the environmental group Friends of the Earth.

``This is the second contamination incident in the past couple of weeks. It seems pretty clear that the (Food and Drug Administration) is doing a miserable job ensuring the safety of the American food supply,'' he said.

Kraft Foods issued a nationwide recall Sept. 22 for taco shells it sells in stores under the Taco Bell brand after its tests confirmed that they were made with the biotech corn developed by Aventis CropScience. The Kraft and Safeway shells were produced by different manufacturers.

The corn, known as StarLink, hasn't been approved for human consumption because of unresolved questions about whether it could cause allergic reactions in people. The corn is allowed only in animal feed.

FDA officials say there is no known health risk from the corn but that they are testing a variety of corn products for its presence.

Aventis has suspended sales of the corn and has agreed to reimburse the government for buying and handling all of this year's crop to ensure that it does not get into the food supply.

The StarLink corn was grown on about 300,000 acres this year nationwide, or about 0.4 percent of the total U.S. corn acreage.

The Safeway taco shells were purchased at a Washington-area store Sept. 28 and tested Wednesday by a firm in Iowa at the request of the coalition known as the Genetically Engineered Food Alert, Helm said.

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On the Net: http://www.gefoodalert.org