US regulatory officials recently took several steps to eliminate any future occurrences similar to Aventis CropScience's (Research Triangle Park, NC) StarLink corn debacle last year, when GM corn containing the insecticidal Cry9C protein approved for use in animal feed was discovered in peoples' food products (Nat. Biotechnol. 19, 11, 2001). In March, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (Washington, DC) announced that GM crops will no longer be licensed for animal feed unless also approved for human consumption. In addition, agency officials invited public comments on a draft document describing how food processing can affect levels of the insecticidal protein in finished products: wet milling removes essentially all such protein from finished foods (such as in oils), whereas dry-milling procedures (used to make cornmeal) do not. Also in March, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA; Washington, DC) agreed to purchase seeds that inadvertently contain genes encoding the Cry9C protein. Although industry estimates say less than 1% of such corn seed is currently in the system, the USDA expects this seed purchase program will cost between $15 million and $20 million.
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Nature Biotechnology (2010)
Current Opinion in Plant Biology (2004)