Reuters: FDA eval of human illnesses due to StarLink corn

Gary Greenberg Gary.Greenberg at Duke.Edu
Thu Nov 30 21:29:53 EST 2000

UPDATE - Japan seeks details on US StarLink illness cases

Please read the whole story at the original website

There's no mention of this investigation at the FDA website, and the
closest I can find is the recall information of the food materials (taco
shells) with contaminating StarLink content.
- Gary Greenberg]

JAPAN: November 30, 2000

TOKYO - Japan's Health Ministry said yesterday it was seeking more
information from the US authorities on news that some Americans claimed
they became ill after eating food containing gene-spliced StarLink corn.
"We are seeking more details on this news from the US government,
including the US embassy in Tokyo and the US Food and Drug
Administration," the ministry said in a statement. 

The ministry statement quoted a report on Reuters Web site and attached
a printout of the story.

The Reuters report, quoting US federal officials as saying 44 Americans
had complained they became ill after eating food containing StarLink but
that investigators may never be able to pinpoint whether the genetically
modified maize was to blame.

The claims of illness were reported by the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to a US panel looking into potential allergies
caused by StarLink.

Symptoms included rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting, itching and
life-threatening shock attacks, said Dr Karl Klontz, an FDA
epidemiologist. But unless a special laboratory test is developed,
scientists may never pinpoint whether the gene-altered corn was to

The panel is to submit recommendations to the US Environmental
Protection Agency by Friday.

StarLink, made by Franco-German biotech firm Aventis SA, has a special
gene inserted in it to help the young corn plant fight destructive

It was approved by US regulators in 1998, but only for use in animal
feed because of uncertainty as to whether it could cause allergic
reactions in humans.


"Under these circumstances, we cannot resume US corn buying," said a
trade house trader. "If traces of StarLink are detected in imported
cargoes at the ports, what would we be able to do?

"We cannot use StarLink commingled corn for animal feed or ship it back
because of the cost."

In Japan, StarLink is not even approved in animal feed.


Story by Jae Hur 


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


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