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Japan accepts U.S. testing plans for corn exports

11/06/2000-The U.S. is to begin testing corn being shipped to Japan for the presence of StarLink grain, the gene-altered variety that was found in the U.S. food supply without being approved for human consumption, the Agriculture Department said. As the largest foreign buyer of U.S. corn, Japan accepted the testing plans on Friday, said Tim Galvin, administrator of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. A consumer group said last month that it found StarLink corn in snacks sold in Japanese stores and in animal feed. The Japanese government asked USDA for assurances the corn wouldn't be in any further shipments to the country. Corn bound for Japan will be tested for StarLink residue when it is loaded on barges and railcars, which will then be sealed until the grain is moved onto ships. The Agriculture Department, meanwhile, is still trying to track down all of the StarLink grown this year. About 1.2 million bushels has not been located; the rest is being stored or has been put to approved uses, USDA officials say. Aventis CropScience, which developed the corn, wants the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant a temporary food-use permit for the corn and submitted data last week that the company said showed the grain posed no hazard to consumers. Last Monday, the EPA announced plans for a 30-day public comment period and formal consultations with scientists. The public comment period started Tuesday. The EPA plans to have a meeting with scientists, which will be open to the public, during the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 1.


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