Now that independent testing has showed the presence of the StarLink biotechnology corn hybrid in food products, several organizations representing American farmers have called upon the life science industry to work with farmers and the grain and food industries in developing stronger, closed-loop, identity preservation systems that protect agriculture's most important asset: the trust and respect of its consumers.

"As farmers, we recognize that consumer confidence in the wholesomeness of the crops we grow is paramount to our success," said Tony Anderson, a farmer from Mt. Sterling, Ohio. "If new agricultural products have not received required government approvals for food use or for export, our organizations have urged the life science industry either not to sell these products to farmers or to establish strong, closed-loop, production systems that ensure these products will not enter our food and export streams."

Anderson said the first step is to discover how StarLink corn got into the food processing system. The corn hybrid has insect protection from the use of Cry9C protein. StarLink currently is approved for animal feed and non-food industrial uses, but not for food.

"Once we understand where the misstep occurred, the technology and seed companies involved can work with government regulatory agencies, food processors and producers to keep it from happening again," Anderson said. "We note that enormous quantities of food move through the supply chain every day with extremely low incidence of problems. While we recognize that this particular product does not belong in the food chain, because the Environmental Protection Agency is still considering its approval for food use, we continue to believe that the benefits of biotechnology in food and fiber production -- from enhanced nutrition content to reduced impact on the environment -- far outweigh any risks identified to date."

Anderson represents a group of agricultural organizations whose members believe it is important to present the American farmers' perspectives on the benefits of biotechnology in food and fiber production. Participating organizations include the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers Association, the National Cotton Council, National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation.