FRANCE: Aventis puts brakes on StarLink corn production
French pharmaceutical and agricultural company Aventis has responded to the US debacle surrounding Kraft's taco shells by halting the sales of its genetically modified corn, the first move of its kind among biotechnology firms. Seeds of the StarLink corn it engineered will not be sold to the US until the government has agreed that it is safe for human consumption.Last Friday (22 September) witnessed Kraft Foods embark on an embarrassing recall of millions of taco shells from US supermarkets, after independent laboratory tests confirmed the suspicions of an anti-biotechnology pressure group who believed that consumers may be buying food that contained GM corn not approved for human consumption. Federal regulators are still unsure how the illegal mix-up occurred at the mill used to process the taco shells, and other food products, and Aventis stressed that its decision hoped to reassure consumers that StarLink would not reach the food chain. Rick Rountree, spokesman for Aventis, commented that the decision was made because: "It isn't in our interest to sell corn seed if it is causing confusion."
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