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Dupont & Dow Prepare to Force Another Likely Allergenic Variety of GE Corn on Consumers


New kind of biotech corn gets close look
Philip Brasher
Des Moines Register, March 1, 2005

Washington, D.C. - The government is again investigating the safety of
genetically engineered corn.

This time, the issue isn't StarLink, the corn variety that spawned
nationwide food recalls in 2000, but a variety developed by Des Moines-based
Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences. The new variety produces
corn resistant to rootworm.

Like StarLink, the Pioneer-Dow product contains a protein that takes longer
to break down in the human gut than many other proteins. That's a
characteristic of foods that cause allergic reactions.

"At this stage, any kind of reasonably cautious approach would say hold off
on their protein until we get data that is more definitive," said Doug
Gurian-Sherman, a former scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency
who doesn't believe the EPA should approve the new corn variety, which could
end up in food.

Gurian-Sherman, who worked on the StarLink issue while at the EPA, is now
senior scientist with the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group critical
of agricultural biotechnology.

The EPA believes the corn is safe, based on research provided by Pioneer and
Dow, as does the Food and Drug Administration, which also assesses the
safety of biotech foods.

However, the EPA is convening a panel of scientific advisers today and
Wednesday to look into the companies' data.

Officials with Pioneer and Dow were cited as saying there are crucial
differences between their corn and StarLink and expect the scientists to
agree that it is safe.

The Pioneer-Dow product, which contains a bacterium gene that makes the
plants toxic to insect pests, would be the second line of biotech corn that
is resistant to rootworm.

The EPA approved the first rootworm-resistant corn, a Monsanto product, in
2003.

In initial tests, the protein at issue in the Pioneer-Dow product took up to
30 minutes to disappear. Most similar proteins break down within 30 seconds
to five minutes.
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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's
Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the
Ecological Farming Association www.eco-farm.org <http://www.eco-farm.org/>
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