Aventis CropScience said yesterday that it has confirmed the presence of Cry9C protein in test samples of a variety of corn seed that was not sold under the StarLink trademark.

The corn seed was produced by Garst Seed Company, based in Iowa. Aventis CropScience performed the tests after several farmers stated that corn with no known connection to StarLink was testing positive for Cry9C. Under their licenses from Aventis, Garst and other corn seed producers were required to meet specific quality standards and to use the Cry9C technology only in varieties sold as StarLink. Aventis CropScience does not know how Cry9C protein came to be present in a variety other than StarLink brand seeds.

Aventis CropScience expects that any non-StarLink corn containing Cry9C will be channeled to approved feed and industrial uses, in the same manner as StarLink corn. While resolution of this matter is clearly the responsibility of those who produced and sold the seed, Aventis will make its services available to assist in containing this corn and channeling it to approved uses.

Aventis has notified the EPA, FDA and USDA of its findings, and is consulting with these agencies to determine next steps. Aventis CropScience noted that while the Cry9C protein has not yet been approved for human consumption by the EPA, the agency has stated that it does not have any evidence that food containing StarLink corn will cause any allergic reaction in people, and the agency believes the risks, if any, are extremely low.