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A federal judge in Chicago approved a $9 million settlement Thursday in a lawsuit over genetically modified corn that found its way into products on supermarket shelves. Under the settlement approved by U.S. District Judge James Moran, a group of food companies will attach $6 million in coupons, each good for a dollar off, to packages of their products. Any portion of the $6 million not used by consumers through the coupons will be paid into a fund that will be used to support as-yet-undetermined charities or food research groups. The Chicago law firm of Krislov and Associates will receive $2.4 million for filing the class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who said they suffered allergic reactions from eating food products that contained the genetically modified corn. Attorney Clinton A. Krislov said the defendants have not disclosed how much each of them will contribute to the $9 million settlement amount. Some $600,000 is earmarked for administering the coupon program. The StarLink corn seed was created by one of the defendants in the case, Aventis CropScience USA Holding Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C. It was licensed to Garst Seed Co. of Slater, Iowa, for sale to farmers. It was engineered to include the protein Cry9C, which is deadly to insects that bore their way into the corn. StarLink seed had been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in animal feed but not for human consumption. Testing that led to the lawsuit began when a Washington-based environmental group found the StarLink corn in taco shells. Somehow, the StarLink corn had been mixed with regular corn in a number of cases. Aventis and Garst were defendants in the lawsuit along with Kraft Foods Co. of Glenview, Ill.; Azteca Foods Inc. of Chicago; Azteca Milling, Co. of Edinburg, Texas, and a sister company, Mission Foods Co. Messages seeking comment were left at the corporate offices of all of the defendants but none was reached for comment immediately. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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