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Japan turns to other sources for corn

(April 9, 2001 --Cropchoice news)--Rather than testing for and eliminating any U.S. corn shipments with transgenic traits it has not approved, especially StarLink, Japan is buying corn from elsewhere. It's turning to China, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa to cover the majority of its first quarter corn needs.

Japan recently launched a "zero tolerance" policy toward unapproved transgenic foods. But rather than spending the money on tests that likely would reveal StarLink in U.S. shipments, inspectors and buyers are willing to pay premiums for corn from other places.

The Japanese health ministry will randomly inspect 58 shipments of U.S. corn for food consumption through March 31, 2002. This amounts to 5 percent of all the 1,200 U.S. corn shipments registered during fiscal 1999-2000. Any corn that tests positive for StarLink will be directed to industrial uses, destroyed or returned to sender.

In accordance with the agreement that Japan and the United States reached last year, U.S. authorities now test for Starink in all the corn that's headed to Japan.

This will become even more necessary as the availability of Argentine and Brazilian corn dwindles in late July or August.

Sources: BridgeNews, Doane's