Tortilla Chips in Britain Found to Contain GE Corn

November 6, 2000

2 Min Read
Tortilla Chips in Britain Found to Contain GE Corn

ST. LOUIS--On Nov. 4, genetically engineered (GE) corn--banned in Britain but approved for consumption in the United States, Japan and Canada--was found in British-made and -sold tortilla chips.

The anti-biotech group, Friends of the Earth, announced that the Germany-based laboratory, GeneScan, found Monsanto GA21 corn (also known as Roundup Ready) in chips made by British supermarkets Asda and Safeway and manufacturer Phileas Fogg, as well as smaller traces of Monsanto's Dekalb DBT418 (also known as Dekalb Bt-Xtra) in chips produced by British supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury's. However, St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. clarified in a statement released on its Web site that no products with Dekalb Bt-Xtra had been sold this year.

Roundup Ready corn was grown on approximately 2.6 million acres in 2000 and, according to Monsanto's statement, it was approved not only for the United States, but also for importation into major markets excepting the European Union. Also, Dekalb Bt-Xtra was grown on limited acres in 1998 and 1999, with production halted in 1999 and no product sold in 2000.

However, in the same statement, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief operating officer, Hugh Grant, asked the United Kingdom to obtain data and samples that Friends of the Earth used to ascertain if these claims are valid.

"While we are fully confident of the safety of our products and the equality of food available for consumer," he said, "we recognize that our grower customers need assurance that the market for the crops they grow will not be disrupted."

Grant also reassured consumers that Monsanto will not commercially launch new genetically improved commodity crops for planting in the United States until they have been approved for food use and animal feed in the United States and Japan; he also stated that Monsanto cannot make the same assurances to Europe "because of the gridlock in the European regulatory system." For more information, visit www.monsanto.com.

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