From Bio Journal - Oct. 2001

Towards approval of GM corn StarLink in Japan

On August 20, the Safety Assessment Subcommittee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Feed Committee has approved a draft proposal which will allow import of unapproved GMO crops that include the controversial StarLink corn into the Japanese market. This decision was made based on a StarLink test conducted by the Feed Division, Livestock Industry Department, Agricultural Production Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The study concluded that its safety tests of genetically modified StarLink corn on broiler chickens, pigs and cows did not give rise to any harmful health effects.
Moreover, eggs and milk from the StarLink-fed group exhibited no trace of the unique protein Cry9C found only in the GM corn, which is suspected of being an allergen for humans. However, this test result is not at all enough to evaluate generally the effect on animals.

Rush for approval of NewLeaf Plus Potato and RoundUp Ready Canola "RT200"

On August 8, the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council at the Department of Food Sanitation, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) decided to allow two unapproved GMOs, NewLeaf Plus Potato and RoundUp Ready Canola "RT200", for marketing in Japan.

Both of these GMOs had been involved in a food recall scare. On May 24, 2001, traces of unapproved GM potato, NewLeaf Plus, was found in House Foods Corp's snack products called O'ZACK. House Foods recalled its products and then there were recalls of Calbee Foods Co Ltd's JAGARIKO, Bourbon Corp's POTELKA, Morinaga and Co's Morinaga POTELONG and POTELONG smoked cheese flavour, and also PRINGLES by Procter and Gamble Far East Inc., the Japan unit of Procter & Gamble Co. of the United States.

Also, on April 25, 2001, two of Canada's major grain companies and Monsanto Co. voluntarily recalled thousands of bags of the GM canola seed, RoundUp Ready Canola "RT200".

The reason why the government of Japan seems to be in a rush to give approval to such GMOs is to economize the cost of checking imported products at Japanese ports. There is an intention to decrease the amount of unapproved GMOs, since this will make the import process smoother. It is obvious that the government gives priority to the political intention.

(English Index)