Several points in Kate Devine's article, "GM Food Debate Gets Spicy,"1 deserve amplification. The first pertains to the widespread recall of foods containing "StarLink" corn. The bottom line is that not a single person is at all likely to be harmed by this product, which differs from other commercial varieties by the presence of a Bacillus thuringiensis protein called Cry9C. The foods in question are actually far less likely than thousands of other products on the market to cause allergic or other health problems. For example, fava beans, a fixture of upscale restaurant cuisine in the United States and Europe, can be life-threatening to persons with hereditary glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency; by contrast, even after exhaustive testing, no allergic reactions, toxicity, or any other problem has been demonstrated with Cry9C or any substance similar to it.

The real problem lies not in StarLink corn, but in the United States' regulatory...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?