Latest News on StarLink Corn Scandal

Plans to Bury & Compost StarLink Seed. USDA Begins Buying
March 22, 2001 By Randy Fabi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department this week sent
contracts to some 300 seed companies offering to buy seed potentially
contaminated with StarLink, a bioengineered corn variety not approved for
human use, in an effort to keep it out of this year's crop, officials said

Earlier this month, the USDA
said it would spend about $20 million to purchase about 1 percent of
this year's spring planting corn seed suspected of being tainted with
StarLink's Cry9c protein. The protein is the key component that protects
young plants from destructive pests... Once the seed is purchased by
USDA, the government will destroy the contaminated seed by either
burying it in soil at least one foot deep or crushing and composting it.
Seed companies have until April 15 to decide whether to participate in
the USDA program...

Corn Growers Talk EU Trade in The West Wing. Biotech Corn

WASHINGTON, Mar 22, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

The National Corn Growers Association
(NCGA) Corn Board met Wednesday afternoon with White House staff to
explain trade benefits of breaking up the regulatory logjam of biotech
corn hybrids awaiting approval in the European Union (EU). "The EU's
regulatory moratorium has cost U.S. corn growers $200 million each year
since 1998," pointed out Fred Yoder, Plain City, Ohio, farmer and
chairman of the NCGA Biotechnology Working Group. "And, the EU is
drafting new rules that threaten to disrupt more trade." Yoder and the
Corn Board made their points during a meeting in the White House West
Wing with Gary Edsen, assistant to the president for international
economic affairs. Edsen is also a member of the National Security
Council and the National Economic Council. NCGA explained the effect the
regulatory bottleneck has on U.S. trade and urged the new administration
to place a high priority on solving this problem. Also, Yoder emphasized
that the EU has taken more than four years, enough time to earn a
college degree, to review biotech corn hybrids. And, the product
approvals are still pending, he said. "The EU system is just not
functioning. Since August 1998 the EU has failed to complete the
procedures to market a single crop product created through
biotechnology. The EU officials have played politics and ignored the
EU's own regulations as well as the World Trade Organization
obligations," he noted...

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