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REPORT OF BANNED CORN IN TACO SHELLS SPURS PROBE

A form of genetically modified corn not allowed in food because of concerns it could trigger allergies has been detected in Taco Bell taco shells sold in grocery stores, the Washington Post reported today.

The Food and Drug Administration already has begun an investigation, the paper said.

It said a report prepared by a coalition of biotechnology critics had found the corn, produced by Aventis Corp. and called StarLink, in human food products, although federal authorities approved it in 1998 only as animal feed.

Because the corn has been genetically modified in a way that makes it more difficult to break down in the human digestive system, the agencies have refused to approve it for human use.

Federal officials called the possibility that the corn had been made it into food products "very serious" if confirmed by further testing, the Post reported.

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