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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, May 10, 2001: A senior US official has criticized Sri Lanka's sweeping ban on genetically modified (GM) food imports, according to this report in India Abroad, describing it as "totally unwarranted" and without any "credible scientific evidence" to support it. Weyland Beeghly, the agricultural counselor at the US mission in New Delhi, said Thursday that Sri Lanka's ban, which came into effect May 1, was the first anywhere in the world. It is somewhat difficult to understand this claim, as both Europe and Japan prohibit the sale of GM foods out of safety concerns. In a related development, the New York Times reported that more than one quarter of the America's seed suppliers have found corn seed contaminated with traces of a biotech variety wasn't approved for human consumption. The biotech seed, named StarLink, was approved only for animal consumption because of unanswered questions about whether a special protein, called Cry9C, in the corn can cause allergic reactions in people.