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December 1, 2000
Tortilla Chips in Britain Found to Contain Banned GE Corn
ST. LOUIS--On Nov. 4, genetically engineered (GE) corn--banned in Britain butapproved for consumption in the United States, Japan and Canada--was found inBritish-made and -sold tortilla chips.
An anti-biotech group, Friends of the Earth, announced that the Germany-basedlaboratory GeneScan found Monsanto GA21 corn (also known as Roundup Ready) inprivate label chips sold by British supermarkets Asada and Safeway and inbranded chips from manufacturer Phileas Fogg, as well as smaller traces ofMonsanto Dekalb DBT418 (also known as Dekalb Bt-Xtra) in chips labeled forBritish supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury's. However, St. Louis-basedMonsanto Co. clarified in a statement released on its Web site that no productswith 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 UnitedStates, but also for importation into major markets excepting the EuropeanUnion. Also, Dekalb Bt-Xtra was grown on limited acres in 1998 and 1999, withproduction halted in 1999 and no product sold in 2000.
However, in the same statement, Monsanto's executive vice president and chiefoperating officer, Hugh Grant, asked the United Kingdom to obtain the data andsample that Friends of the Earth used in order to ascertain if these claims arevalid.
"While we are fully confident of the safety of our products and theequality of food available for consumers," he said, "we recognize thatour grower customers need to know that the market for the crops they grow willnot be disrupted."
Grant also reassured consumers that Monsanto will not commercially launch newgenetically modified commodity crops for planting in the United States untilthey have been approved for food use and animal feed in the United States andJapan; he also stated that Monsanto cannot make the same assurances to Europe"because of the gridlock in the European regulatory system." For moreinformation, visit www.monsanto.com or www.foe.co.uk/pubsinfo/infoteam/pressrel/2000/20001105000137.html.
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