Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry has confirmed that StarLink, the US-grown genetically modified corn banned for consumption in Japan has been mixed with corn used in the production of processed foods. The Health Ministry estimates that 28,000 tons of 38,000 tons of corn imported from the US was blended with the StarLink variety grain.

The ministry also confirmed that the grain has been processed into foods and materials for industrial products and manufacturers have sold these to distributors in Japan. Approximately 17,000 tons of the blended corn has been used to make beer and other foods, according to the ministry's estimates.

Around 250 tons of the corn were sold to food companies for production of confectionery and has been used. The ministry said it believes most of the beer made from the corn in question has now been consumed. StarLink has recently been the subject of a highly publicised recall in the US after traces of the grain was found in a processed food product.