United States Environmental Protection Agency
Communications, Education, And Media Relations (1703A)
Note to Correspondents
FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY, DEC. 5, 2000
ADVISORY PANEL REPORT ASSESSES SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION CONCERNING
Full 28 page report:
Dave Deegan 202-564-7839
Today, EPA made public a report from its Scientific Advisory Panel on
the potential allergenicity of StarLink corn. EPA asked the expert panel
to provide an independent scientific assessment on the potential
allergenicity, sensitization and possible exposure to StarLink corn.
StarLink presently is not licensed for use in food consumed by humans.
Aventis, the manufacturer, has asked for a time-limited exemption to
allow StarLink corn in food products, which EPA is currently reviewing.
Both the Panels recommendations and the public comments that were
submitted will be used to guide the EPA during the scientific evaluation
of StarLink, said Stephen Johnson, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator.
EPA will continue its evaluation of the scientific information, and
develop the appropriate regulatory approach in response to the StarLink
situation to ensure protection of public health and continued consumer
confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply.
EPA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture are working together closely on the StarLink situation, and
have already begun to take the following steps recommended by the Panel
to continue a thorough assessment:
Follow-up investigation of incidents reported by individuals to
evaluate whether StarLink residues may have caused allergic reactions.
Evaluate new data to determine what extent processing has on StarLink
protein residues in processed food.
Review new and existing analytical methods for measuring levels of
StarLink protein in processed foods.
Continue focused monitoring of the food supply to determine whether
residues of StarLink corn are present.
In summary, the Scientific Advisory Panel found, based on available
information, that there is a medium likelihood that StarLink protein
is a potential allergen and that given the low levels of StarLink in the
U.S. diet, there is a low probability of allergenicity in the
population exposed to the corn. While the Panel declined to speculate on
the sensitization to StarLink, the Panel did note that children may be
more sensitive than adults and study of infant diets should be given
high priority. The Panel recommended as its highest priority that
individuals who claim to have experienced adverse effects from StarLink
corn consumption be studied as soon as possible to determine whether
StarLink was the source of the reactions.
The Scientific Advisory Panel is an independent peer review body which
provides scientific advice to EPA, with the members selected on the
basis of their professional qualifications. The panel report is
available at www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap/.
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Gary N. Greenberg, MD MPH Sysop / Moderator Occ-Env-Med-L MailList
gary.greenberg at duke.edu Duke Occupat, Environ, Int & Fam Medicine
OEM-L Maillist Website: http://occhealthnews.com