Aventis: StarLink Here to Stay
(Knight Ridder/Tribune 19 March) A top Aventis CropScience executive
said Sunday that the food supply will never be rid of the new strain of
corn that the company genetically engineered at Research Triangle Park.
The executive, John Wichtrich, called for a change in federal
regulations to allow some level of the engineered corn, known as
StarLink, in human food. The product is now approved only for animal
feed and industrial products such as ethanol. But the environmental
watchdog who first discovered the new corn in food objected sharply.
"Aventis broke the promise of biotechnology," said Larry Bohlen of
Friends of the Earth in Washington, D.C. "They were supposed to improve
the quality of our food, not cause so many problems and introduce so
much risk." Wichtrich, general manager of Aventis in RTP, apologized
for the debacle Sunday in a speech to the North American Millers
Association in San Antonio...
By Dyanna DeCola of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 21 March.
CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--A report that Japan will allow foods to contain
genetically modified corn in moderate levels is seen by traders and analysts
as potentially friendly but not greatly bullish for the corn futures market
at the Chicago Board of Trade.
According to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, under new
safety guidelines to take effect April 1, food products will be allowed
to contain genetically modified material in levels up to 5%. But there's
still confusion on whether or not this includes the bio-tech corn variety
that contains Cry9C, known as Starlink Bt. This corn, grown in U.S.,
isn't approved for human consumption but was discovered in food
products exported from the U.S. to Japan. Subsequently, corn purchases
by Japan, the biggest customer for the U.S., have fallen, and corn prices
have fallen too. "If this report proves true, it's a step in the right direction,"
said Joseph Victor, vice president/marketing with Allendale Inc., an agricultural
consulting firm in McHenry, Il. "It would be an improvement for the U.S.
corn industry." Victor said he talked to an official at Aventis, the
producer of Starlink corn, in an effort to sift through what has been
reported. "The way they (Aventis) view it, a newspaper article is
quoting sources from Japan, not an official agency," said Victor. "And
Aventis said until they hear directly from the Japanese Ministry they
are stepping aside on the issue. They're not ready to say hooray hooray,
we've won the battle." The Japanese government has always enforced a
zero tolerance policy, meaning it has never allowed genetically modified
crops to enter the country. Reportedly, officials said the government
decided to set a threshold for high-tech corn after new technology made
it possible to detect it in processed foods. Export Recovery Needed For
CBOT Rally - Traders. Traders said if the report proves true the
decision would be friendly for CBOT corn prices, but wouldn't set off a
major rally. "In the short term it could give corn prices a boost,"
said Victor Lespinasse, a grain trader with A.G. Edwards in Chicago.
"But until we actually start seeing business pick up steam again, a
resurgence of exports to Japan, we won't see a significant rally in