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7-Business: Japan finds 9th U.S. corn cargo tainted with Bt-10

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Japan finds 9th U.S. corn cargo tainted with Bt-10
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   23 Aug 2005

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Japan finds 9th U.S. corn cargo tainted with Bt-10

TOKYO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Agriculture Ministry said it discovered
a ninth U.S. feed grain cargo tainted with Bt-10 biotech corn, and has
told the importer to destroy it or ship it back to the United States.

The tainted cargo arrived on Aug. 1 at the port of Shibushi on the
southern Japanese island of Kyushu, the ministry said in a statement
issued late Monday. Samples containing Bt-10 were taken from 5,963 tonnes
of corn in the vessel.

The ministry did not name the importer.

Samples from the U.S. feed corn cargo tested positive for traces of Bt-
10, a genetically modified (GMO) corn strain made by Swiss agrochemicals
group Syngenta AG that has not been approved for distribution.

Syngenta said in March that some of its corn seeds in the United States
had been mistakenly contaminated with Bt-10 from 2001 to 2004.

It was the ninth discovery since the ministry started random tests on
arriving U.S. feed corn cargoes on May 23.

Japan has a zero-tolerance policy on imports of unapproved GMO crops. The
ministry has proposed accepting feed grain cargoes with up to 1 percent
of Bt-10 corn, to smooth the flow of U.S. corn supplies to Japan's
livestock industry. But the plan is subject to approval by Japan's Food
Safety Commission, an independent agency.

More contaminated cargoes will likely be found, as the ministry has
stepped up its tests to cover all U.S. corn cargoes.

The chances of finding contaminated cargoes are expected to become
slimmer when newly harvested U.S. corn starts to reach Japan around
November, a ministry official said.

To ensure tainted supplies are not shipped to Japan, the ministry has
told importers of U.S. corn they must obtain certificates stating the
cargoes do not contain Bt-10.

Some U.S. grain shippers have started testing their corn shipments to
Japan, in response to requests from Japanese importers. But others are
reluctant to do so because of high costs and extra work to arrange tests,
traders said.


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