On November 16, 2000, activists from Greenpeace, the Organic Consumers Association, the Pesticide Action Network, the Ecology Center, the Center for Food Safety, and the Ruckus Society dumped two tons of corn in front of the Environmental Protection Agency’s San Francisco headquarters. They wore biohazard suits as part of their stunt to protest StarLink corn, a biotech strain engineered to be pest-resistant. Farmers won $110 million from StarLink’s maker because activist-driven fears had damaged their markets. But as we reported years ago, StarLink has never caused any harm to humans. And now The New York Times provides even more reason to believe that Starlink has always been perfectly safe.
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology “casts further doubt on whether StarLink caused allergies” and is “likely to buttress contentions long made by biotechnology supporters that the dangers of StarLink were overblown,” according to the Times. Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg tested one man — who got $10,000 in a settlement over a supposed Starlink allergy — for such an allergy. Turns out that it didn’t exist. Rothenberg concluded that his work “supports the view that there was no problem.”
Unfortunately, anti-biotech activists are remarkably impervious to evidence. So we doubt that this study will alter the folklore they continue to invent about the make-believe dangers of StarLink in particular and genetically enhanced food in general. After all, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in 2001 that its own tests of StarLink did not cause allergies in the 17 people who had reported a supposedly severe response, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, and other assorted scaremongers still persisted in sowing StarLink fears.