Greenpeace has claimed there is unapproved GM corn in Kellogg’s meat-free hotdogs. The environmentalist group says that Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms corndogs contain Starlink corn, which is not approved for human consumption. Although Kellogg is still testing the batch, there’s a good chance it is indeed tainted. The reputation of US corn will be further damaged by the claims, damaging consumer confidence and harming exports.

Starlink genetically modified corn is back in the news – and allegedly back in the food chain. Just five months after the Kraft taco shell recall, Greenpeace claims to have discovered traces of the genetically modified corn in Morningstar Farms’ meat-free corndogs, a popular product in Kellogg’s vegetarian food range. Starlink has been approved for animal food but not for human consumption due to fears of potential allergies.

Kellogg has sent the product for testing and, although it is still too soon to tell, the US food maker’s products may well be contaminated. Only last week, the US department of agriculture announced that around 1% of the country’s corn-seed supply is likely to be contaminated by the biotech corn. The USDA is planning to spend up to $20 million to buy and destroy all affected produce.

Greenpeace bought the corndogs in February in a Safeway supermarket in Maryland. According to the environmental group, a UK laboratory found traces of both genetically-engineered soy and genetically-engineered corn. An Iowa laboratory then tested for Starlink specifically and found that the corndogs contained around 1% Starlink corn. Kellogg has stated that it believes the product was made last October from corn grown in 1999. Although Starlink has not been approved for food, Environmental Protection Agency officials have stressed that the corn represents no immediate health concern and that any potential risks are extremely low.

The findings are bad news for Kellogg, but far worse news for US corn producers. Worries about the purity of the crop look certain to harm international sales. The USDA reduced its forecast for this year’s corn exports again on Thursday – the fourth time in as many months. Prices are also expected to be hit, possibly reaching their lowest level in 15 years. And while Kellogg has made no plans for a recall just yet, other corn-using food producers will also now be worrying about the financial ramifications of Starlink tainted products.

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