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Identifying Food Containing Non-Approved Corn

27 October 2000

Ministry Working to Identify Food Containing Non-Approved Corn

THE Ministry of Health is liaising with US and Japanese health authorities to identify illegal food stuffs that may contain genetically modified "Starlink" corn not approved for use in food.

The move comes after reports were received from Japan of food stuffs from the United States found to contain Starlink corn. Starlink corn is currently only approved for use in animal feed in the United States .

Ministry of Health Food Manager, Jim Sim said it would take two or three days to confirm which products allegedly contain the Starlink corn.

"Once we have this information we will be able to identify products that may be affected and take action to ensure that these products are removed from sale if any have been imported."

Mr Sim said to date, one product called Taco Bell brand taco shells, has been confirmed by overseas authorities as containing the corn. The Ministry has confirmed that this product is not marketed in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) to identify and restrict distribution of any products found to contain the corn. Further information is also being sought through the US Embassy.

The safety of imported foods is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.

Further media releases will be issued as more information comes to hand.

END

For more information contact: Selina Gentry, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2483 or 025-277-5411 Internet address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html




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