The StarLink controversy continues to brew. At press time, Japan agreed to a U.S. plan for testing shipments of corn for the presence of the StarLink gene, which is not approved for use in human food. This agreement is crucial for the U.S. to maintain its export relationship with Japan, which, according to the U.S. Corn Growers Association, usually imports more than 600 million bushels of U.S. corn a year. Japan detected the gene in samples of corn that it had imported from the U.S.

Hybrids with the StarLink gene, made by Aventis CropScience, will not be available for planting next year. Aventis is offering a plan to buy StarLink corn at a $0.25/bu. premium. More information about the plan is available at www.us.cropscience.aventis.com.

Meanwhile, Aventis is working with the EPA to determine what is needed to address the safety of StarLink corn for humans.