Disposable diapers, SUVs, plastic shopping bags, styrofoam cups, and teak furniture.

     These, of course, are all items on many people’s environmental boogylist. But it appears there is now a new consumer product that some are willing to vent outrage over: Namely, the corn dog.

     Yes, that’s right, the corn dog has now come under fire because of its environmental impact on Mother Earth.  What’s truly surprising about this latest fuss is that it’s a “vegetarian” corn dog produced by the Kellogg Co. that’s creating all the hullaballoo. And what’s its crime? Well it’s not the fact that it’s “vegetarian,” which would seem like something to protest over. Rather, it’s the point that it contains Starlink corn, a biogenetically engineered product that has never been linked to any danger whatsoever.

     Some environmental groups – including Greenpeace, PIRG, and Friends of the Earth – maintain that a certain protein contained in the corn dog, known as CRY9C, is an allergen. They assert this because certain lab experiments have shown the protein to digest more slowly in a “simulated gastric environment,” and such resistance sometimes, but certainly doesn’t always, correlate with allergies.

     Health experts, on the other hand, beg to differ. According to Steve Milloy of Foxnews.com, most experts reject such alarmist claims because CRY9C’s protein sequence doesn’t resemble any other known allergens, and even more importantly, the general public isn’t exposed to sufficient amounts of this substance to cause allergies. CRY9C was recently found in Taco Bell taco shells, for example, at levels of less than 1 percent of total corn protein – a level which doesn’t present any health risk whatsoever. This, as might be expected, didn’t cause the critics to back off, but it did point out to health officials there’s no reason to panic.

     What many are really upset over, of course, isn’t the corn dog but biotech itself. Yet biotechnology is a critical tool in helping mankind produce safe and abundant food for an ever-growing world population. Here’s hoping sound science can take a bite out of this recent corn dog scare.

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