An outside scientific advisory panel told the U.S. EPA yesterday that the genetically modified corn StarLink has a “medium likelihood” of causing allergic reactions in some people, but that so little of the corn is now in the food supply in the U.S. that there is a “low probability” that significant allergy problems will arise. The corn is currently only approved for use in animal feed, not human consumption, but it has been found in taco shells and other food products, causing a string of recalls. The corn’s maker, Aventis, is asking the EPA to approve StarLink for human consumption for four years, the time it may take for the corn now in the country’s grain storage systems to be processed. About 34 people have contacted the government this fall saying they may be experiencing health problems because of the corn; the panel recommended further study of 7 to 14 of the cases.

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