Despite some experts doubting the validity of the independent tests on Kraft’s Taco Shells, which showed that they contained unapproved GM material and prompted a wide scale recall, experiments conducted by the US government have now confirmed the conclusions.
Steve Johnson, deputy assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), confirmed that the GM corn StarLink, which produces its own insecticide and is yet to be cleared for human consumption, was indeed present in the product marketed under licence from Tricon Global Restaurants Inc.’s Taco Bell unit. This latest series of tests were carried out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which now hopes to uncover how the GM corn got into the products in the first place.
Johnson also revealed that the government is now considering carrying out similar tests on other food products, to establish if contamination from the corn is widespread: “FDA is continuing to do additional analysis both of the taco shells as well as considering what other finished foods would be appropriate to evaluate.”
The EPA has received a request from Aventis CropScience, the French developer of StarLink corn, to approve it for human consumption. Officials are divided however over the possibility that it will cause allergic reactions in consumers. In the meantime, the company has agreed to cover the costs, expected to reach US$100m, of buying and shipping the entire of this year’s crop in the US so that no more can get into the food supply.
The Agricultural Secretary, Dan Glickman, commented that, “the issue here is public confidence. I don’t want to do anything that destroys public confidence in the food supply.”