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Kellogg's plant stops production after engineered-corn scare

 

BATTLE CREEK, Michigan (CNN) -- The Kellogg Co. shut down production at one of its plants last week because it could not guarantee that the corn there was free of a genetically modified grain not approved for human consumption, the company told CNN on Saturday.

The plant in Memphis, Tennessee, experienced "a minor production disruption" and was expected to resume full operation early this week, company spokeswoman Chris Ervin said.

She declined to say which Kellogg's products are manufactured at the plant. Kellogg's, based in Battle Creek, Michigan, produces breakfast foods including Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The grain in question is called StarLink, a genetically altered corn product approved for livestock feed but not for human consumption. It contains a protein the Environmental Protection Agency fears could provoke an allergic reaction in humans.

StarLink also contains a toxin which protects it from corn bores, enabling farmers to use fewer pesticides.

Aventis CropScience, which makes the engineered corn, announced in September it was stopping all sales of the grain "to assure that StarLink corn grain does not enter food channels." It was revealed this month that millions of bushels of the corn had made it into the human food supply, and the company was trying to identify all the mills that may have received the unapproved corn.

"We are not aware of any raw materials delivered to any Kellogg facility that contain StarLink variety of corn," Ervin said.

In September, the grain was discovered in Taco Bell brand taco shells. Kraft Corp., which manufactures the shells, promptly recalled 2 to 3 million boxes from grocery stores.

Safeway Inc. recalled its store-brand taco shells this month after a consumer group said they contained StarLink.

"This is a national food-supply issue," the Kellogg Co. said in a statement Saturday. "The appropriate federal government agencies should act swiftly to resolve this matter and maintain consumer confidence in our food supply."

Ervin said the company was in discussion with its trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, to monitor its grain supply for any presence of StarLink.



RELATED STORIES:
Biotech industry protested outside Boston conference
March 26, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Kellogg's
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Aventis CropScience: Corn
Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), Welcome
USDA Agricultural Biotechnology


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