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Food: Kraft recalls contaminated Taco Shells

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Tests indicate presence of unapproved variety of corn 
NORTHFIELD, IL, September 22, 2000 - Kraft Foods is voluntarily recalling
all Taco Bell Home Originals taco shell products sold nationwide only in
supermarkets and other retail grocery outlets. Tests performed by an expert
independent laboratory have indicated the presence in certain samples of a
variety of corn Kraft had not specified for the product and which has not
been approved for use in food. 
While the corn variety, known as "StarLink," has not yet been approved for
use in food, at this point there appears to be no evidence of adverse health
"As soon as we learned that there might be an issue in the supply chain we
purchased from, we have been guided by one priority - the safety of our
products and their compliance with all regulatory requirements, " said Betsy
Holden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kraft Foods. "Testing has
now indicated the presence of 'StarLink' and we are immediately withdrawing
all affected products."
The products being recalled are: 
*	Taco Bell Home Originals 12 Taco Shells 
*	Taco Bell Home Originals 18 Taco Shells 
*	Taco Bell Home Originals Taco Dinner (12 Shells, Sauce & Seasoning) 
Consumers who have purchased any of these products should not eat them, and
should return the packages to the store where they were purchased for a full
Consumers with questions about the products involved in the recall can find
information at the company's website,
<index.html>. Consumers can also call 1-800-433-9361 from 8 a.m. to midnight
As soon as Kraft learned of the possibility of a product ingredient problem,
the company began immediate consultations with the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) and with its supplier. Kraft is licensed by Taco Bell
to use the name on taco shell products sold only in supermarkets. Kraft
purchases finished taco shell products for the Taco Bell taco line from
Sabritas Mexicali, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc. in Mexicali,
Mexico. Sabritas purchases corn flour for the product from Azteca Milling
L.P., which processes the flour in its Plainview, TX, mill. 
The specifications for the corn Azteca purchased for the taco shells were
confined solely to several varieties of conventional yellow corn, and did
not include the "StarLink" corn. 
Kraft has pledged full cooperation with FDA to help in any way it can to
determine how the "StarLink" corn became mixed with the product ingredients.
The company will discontinue production of the taco shell products until it
can be assured that the raw materials and finished products provided by its
suppliers are in full compliance with all regulatory requirements. 
"All of us - government, industry and the scientific community - need to
work on ways to prevent this kind of situation from ever happening again,"
Holden noted. 
Kraft has four specific improvements the company is recommending for
enhancing the safe entry of biotechnology into the marketplace, and
encourages the appropriate regulatory authorities to consider the following:

*	Discontinuing partial approvals of advances in plant biotechnology,
and not allowing crops approved for animal use to enter the market unless
they have also been approved for use in food. 
*	Requiring as a pre-condition to approval that a fully validated
testing procedure be in place for identifying the relevant DNA in crops and
in finished products. 
*	Requiring mandatory review of all plant biotechnology advances by
the appropriate government agencies before those advances enter the market. 
*	Strengthening the requirements for environmental stewardship of
plant biotechnology to enhance the integrity of the food supply chain from
farm to finished product. 
# # #
Contact: Michael Mudd
Phone: 847-646-2868

Huib de Vriend
stichting Consument en Biotechnologie
Postbus 1000
2500 BA Den Haag
The Netherlands
phone: +31 70 44 54 498
fax: +31 70 44 54 592