Following revelations that StarLink corn, which caused so much embarrassment for Kraft a few weeks ago, is present in the US's third largest retailer's own-brand taco shells, Safeway has embarked on a massive voluntary recall.

The prompt response to the charges, brought by an antibiotechnology coalition, is stark evidence of the importance of the GM issue; investigative tests to confirm the presence of the genetically modified corn, which has not yet been approved for human consumption, have not even been carried out yet. If further testing by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms the charges, only then would Safeway be legally obliged to remove the shell from the shelves.

"We're doing this out of an abundance of caution," said store spokeswoman, Debra Lambert.

The Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition group was also involved in the accusations against Kraft, and its announcement that laboratory tests, carried out by Genetic ID on eight boxes of Safeway's taco shells, confirmed the presence of StarLink came yesterday (11 October). It seems that the group is using the taco-shells mix-ups as the main weapon in its fight with the US government over regulation of GM crops and food labelling.

Texas producer Mission Foods makes the shells for the supermarket chain, and it is still unsure how the contamination occurred. Following the Kraft debacle, the company had assured consumers that it complied with all federal laws.

Safeway's recall is set to involve around 1600 stores across the US

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USA: Starlink corn found in Safeway taco shells