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Spanish Corn Starch Industry says Bt Corn is a Problem

(10 May - Cropchoice News) -- Europe's only commercial GMO corn crop is under attack by the food industry. The Spanish association of corn food starch producers, HUMAIZ, has told government officials that Bt corn is costing it money. Quoted by ENDS, a British media service, HUMAIZ chief Felipe Albert said "we have made clear to the agriculture ministry that the current situation is unsustainable" and "we hope the new minister will move quickly to solve our problems."

According to HUMAIZ, GMO corn is causing two major difficulties. Food processors in other European countries are hesitant to accept Spanish corn starch for fear of GMO content. HUMAIZ also says that testing and segregation costs are hurting their competitiveness.

Some US food-grade corn farmers are getting a similar message. Some corn starch companies have asked midwest farmers to avoid GMOs, while the costs of testing and segregation - which many US farmers pay out-of-pocket - are looming large in the fall.

Spain produces about 12% of the EU's maize. In 1999, Spanish farmers planted about 60,000 acres (5% of the national total) with two varieties of Bt corn from Novartis: Jordi CB and Compa CB. Novartis, which also uses the brand name NK Seeds, promoted Bt corn in Spain with the slogan "Corn is still corn". The company had also sought to sell Compa CB next door in Portugal; but the government suspended its registration in December.

SOURCE: Environmental Data Services (ENDS), Novartis S. A., Neptuno.net