Millers agree: Testing corn for StarLink not adding to food safetyApril 28, 2008
Washington, D.C. – April 28, 2008 – The North American Millers’ Association learned on Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn its guidance for testing shipments of yellow corn and dry-milled yellow corn intended for human food use for the presence of Cry9C protein residues. FDA withdrew its guidance in response to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “white paper” and to an independent assessment of StarLink exposure, both of which found the U.S. corn supply is essentially free of StarLink.
In the EPA paper, the Agency concluded that Cry9C has been “sufficiently removed from the human food supply to render the level or risk low enough that continued testing for the protein in yellow corn at dry mills and masa production facilities provided no additional human health protection.”
The EPA paper and the subsequent FDA announcement come after seven years and the testing of more than four million corn samples. No samples have been found to contain Cry9C protein in more than four years. From the beginning millers followed the FDA guidance, acknowledging the need to show quality assurance procedures were in place and working. “We’re delighted that the recent actions by the EPA and FDA have validated our long felt conviction on the safety and wholesomeness of all milled grain products,” said NAMA Chairman Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
Millers remained confident throughout the process that a science-based risk assessment by EPA would conclude further testing for Cry9C was not necessary. There has not been a single incident of a human health affect from Cry9C. “As it turns out, there never was any real health or safety issue,” said Don Sullins, PhD, ADM Milling Company and chairman of NAMA’s Technical Committee. “Plus, since the last StarLink was grown in 2000 the U.S. has emptied and refilled its grain silos with seven harvests – a total of more than 75 billion bushels. It’s time to move on.”
NAMA is the trade association representing 49 companies that operate 170 wheat, oat and corn mills in 38 states and Canada. Their collective production capacity exceeds 160 million pounds of product each day, more than 95 percent of the total industry production.