Local farmers are feeling the affects of an agreement between a biotech seed company and the federal government after a genetically-modified corn seed not approved for food use was found in store-bought taco shells.
Over the past week, farmers who bought StarLink hybrid have been contacted by its manufacturer, Aventis, about the agreement, which calls for all StarLink seed to be kept on-farm for feed, or shipped for feed or industrial use.
The problem arose last month after a Fairfield, Iowa, company found evidence of the corn in taco shells. That type of corn is not approved for food use.
The corn at issue, which is produced by Aventis and goes under the trade name StarLink, is the only biotech crop that isn't approved for human consumption. The corn contains a bacterium gene that makes the plant toxic to the European corn borer.
One of the companies that sold the seed has had sales representatives contacting farmers who had bought the seed. Jeff Lacina, public relations manger for Garst Seed Company, said Garst sales representatives are contacting farmers right now.
"We want to make sure that if they did plant StarLink, they are aware of the restrictions with marketing that grain," Lacina said.
"We've been making sure our sales representatives know who purchased Bt hybrid from Garst and remind them of the restrictions and help them answer any questions," Lacina said.
Read the rest of this article in the 10/07 Pilot Tribune.