U.S. Rice Supply Contaminated

The blight of genetically modified (GM) substances that may be growing on your lawn so spooked the USDA last week, the agency is conducting their first environmental assessment. If that wasn't enough to worry you, a species of GM rice -- illegal for sale to humans -- has contaminated long-grain rice shipments earmarked for Europe.

Those shipments were tainted with the Liberty Link 601 variety of biotech rice, engineered to resist herbicides but not approved for human consumption because its developer, Bayer CropScience, hadn't sought commercial approval from USDA or FDA, even after field testing had ended five years ago.

The problem began in January when one Southern U.S. farming co-op detected the biotech contamination, yet waited five months before notifying Bayer about the problem. Then, Bayer waited two more months before contacting the USDA on July 31, about three weeks before the feds made a public announcement. Chalk up part of the delay to a test developed by Bayer and certified today by the USDA that identifies unapproved strains of GM rice mixed with commercial rice.

The European Union isn't so trusting, however, and for good reason: It imports more than 260,000 tons of long-grain rice from America annually, and its customers want no part of biotech foods.

The best thing you could do to stay one step ahead of the blight of GM crops and foods: Reduce or eliminate your reliance on processed foods.

Washington Post August 19, 2006

Yahoo News August 21, 2006

USA Today August 23, 2006

The New Standard August 24, 2006

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