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Release Date: 07/27/2001
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Note to Correspondents



David Deegan 202-564-7839 /

An independent Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), convened to evaluate new data regarding potential allergenicity and exposure to StarLink corn, has completed its assessment and has provided its final report to EPA. The evaluation has provided new recommendations and reaffirmed key conclusions previously reached by the panel. The report, released today by EPA, summarizes the findings of 16 medical experts and scientists who met in a public meeting on July 17-18 to evaluate the latest scientific information available on StarLink corn.

In their findings, the SAP reaffirmed key conclusions from their previous report on StarLink, including that there is a “medium likelihood” that StarLink protein is a potential human allergen, and that there is sufficient evidence that there is a “low probability of allergenicity” in the exposed population based on levels of StarLink in the U.S. diet. The Panel also stated that, since there is inadequate information to establish a reasonable scientific certainty that exposure would not be harmful to public health, they could not recommend establishing a specific tolerance level for StarLink. Therefore, based on the panel’s recommendations and the available scientific assessment on dietary exposure and allergenicity, establishing a tolerance (legal residue limit) for StarLink in human food products is not currently supported.

“EPA sincerely appreciates the high level of scientific expertise this panel has provided on this important issue,” said Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “Bringing the best science to the table, and evaluating it in a transparent manner, is fundamental as we continue the important work ensuring protection of public health and maintaining consumer confidence in the integrity of the food supply.”

For the near future, EPA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will maintain their efforts to divert StarLink corn away from the human food supply. The federal government is continuing to work with agricultural interests and the grain industry to ensure that corn is tested for the presence of the StarLink protein, and to direct any StarLink corn grain to approved animal feed and industrial uses.

In addition to reaffirming their previous conclusions about potential allergenicity and exposure, the Panel endorsed EPA’s conclusion that the process of wet-milling corn removes virtually all of the StarLink protein (called Cry9C) from products made for human food. This supports the Agency’s determination that there is no public health risk from eating products manufactured from StarLink corn through the wet-milling process, provided that corn utilized in the wet-milling process does not contain significant levels of StarLink. The SAP also agreed with EPA estimates that StarLink corn will essentially be eliminated from the corn grain supply by 2002, provided that the current efforts to test for and contain StarLink grain and seed are maintained. The SAP agreed with EPA estimates that the Cry9C protein in the domestic corn supply will decline rapidly after the 2001 crop is harvested and with each subsequent production year.

In April 2001, Aventis, the manufacturer of StarLink corn, petitioned the Agency for a tolerance of 20 part per billion, that would allow StarLink corn in processed food. The SAP was asked to provide a new scientific analysis of the recent information submitted by Aventis. The complete SAP report is available at:

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