US sent banned corn to Europe for four years Print E-mail
Read on for another dose of the Bush Administration's "in the world's face
fascism" with likely complicity from the Blair Government: the outrage
blamed on pro-GM and pro-US bias in the UK Food Standards Agency! - Lynette
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The Independent -- London -- Sunday April 17 2005

US sent banned corn to Europe for four years
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

All imports of United States corn have been stopped at British ports
following the discovery that the US has been illegally exporting a banned GM
maize to Europe for the past four years.

The unprecedented move, which has angered the Bush administration, follows
efforts to hush up and play down the scandal on both sides of the Atlantic.
For weeks the official food watchdog failed to look for imports of the
maize, which is banned on health grounds. It has been forced to take action
by the European Commission.

The two main opposition parties yesterday blamed the delay on a pro-GM and
pro-US bias in the Food Standards Agency, and pledged to correct it if they
came to power.

The scandal - the worst yet involving GM imports - centres around maize
named Bt 11, modified to repel a pest called the corn borer. It also
contains a gene conferring resistance to antibiotics. All such crops are
banned in Europe because of fears that the resistance could spread to
consumers via the food chain.

Syngenta, the biotech company that developed the maize, told the US
government last December that the crop had been grown over 37,000 acres of
the country since 2001, because it had been confused with a similar,
approved, maize. It was fined $375,000 (£200,000) for the blunder.

But the Bush administration failed for three months to inform European
customers that they were importing a banned maize. The scandal was admitted
only after it was exposed by the scientific magazine Nature, on 22 March.
Even then the US failed to mention that the maize contained the gene for
antibiotic resistance.

Europe is estimated to have imported about 1,000 tons of the banned maize,
as animal feed. The EC says it cannot eliminate danger to people who
consumed meat or dairy products from livestock. It has no idea where in
Europe the banned maize has gone or whether the US stopped exporting it.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said only "very
small" amounts of maize were involved, echoing a statement from Syngenta,
and there was "no actual indication" any had ended up in the UK. The Food
Standards Agency refused pleas to try to identify the maize in Britain. Its
import was stopped on Friday and supplies in transit are being tested at the
ports.