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Food: Rice recalled over gene contamination




                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  RICE RECALLED OVER GENE CONTAMINATION

SOURCE: The Washington Post, USA

AUTHOR: Rick Weiss

URL:    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/05/AR2007030501744.html

DATE:   06.03.2007

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RICE RECALLED OVER GENE CONTAMINATION

The Agriculture Department last night took the unusual step of insisting that U.S. farmers refrain from planting a popular variety of long-grain rice because preliminary tests showed that its seed stock may be contaminated with a variety of gene-altered rice not approved for marketing in the United States.

The announcement marks the third time in six months that U.S. rice has been found to be inexplicably contaminated with engineered traits, and it comes just weeks before the spring planting season.

Adding to the potential disruption, the variety of rice affected is one that many farmers had planned to switch to this spring to avoid a different contaminated strain.

The new problem involves Clearfield CL131 seed, produced by BASF of Germany and marketed by Horizon Ag of Memphis. In an after-hours posting on the USDA Web site, agency officials did not say which unexpected genetic trait had been found in the rice.

In August, Cheniere rice was found to be contaminated with an herbicide-resistance gene that had been under study in 2001 but was never approved or brought to market. The discovery continues to disrupt U.S. rice exports, even though the trait won speedy approval in December.

 



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  STATEMENT BY DR. RON DEHAVEN REGARDING APHIS HOLD ON CLEARFIELD CL131 LONG-GRAIN RICE SEED

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/content/2007/03/ge_riceseed_statement.shtml

DATE:   05.03.2007

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STATEMENT BY DR. RON DEHAVEN REGARDING APHIS HOLD ON CLEARFIELD CL131 LONG-GRAIN RICE SEED

”The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is taking action to prevent the planting and distribution of a long-grain rice seed known as Clearfield CL131 because testing by a private company has revealed the possible presence of trace levels of genetic material not yet approved for commercialization.

”APHIS began issuing emergency action notifications (EANs) yesterday, March 4, to inform distributors that this seed, scheduled for planting this spring, must be held until APHIS can verify and identify the presence of additional genetic material.  APHIS directed distributors to begin notifying producers yesterday.  Additional EANs are being issued to affected producers as they are identified.

”APHIS is taking this action because the genetic material detected in Clearfield CL131 seed might be regulated, in which case it would not be approved for commercial use.  The issuance of EANs will keep any additional CL131 seed from being planted until a determination can be made concerning the identity of this genetic material and the appropriate risk assessment can be conducted.  USDA, through its own testing, is in the process of confirming the results reported by BASF Corporation.

”This action is prompted by test results informally reported to APHIS by Horizon Ag last Wednesday evening, with written results being provided to APHIS by BASF Corporation and Horizon Ag on Thursday.  Clearfield is a registered trademark of BASF.  Clearfield CL131 was not developed as a genetically engineered product.  Horizon Ag is licensed by BASF Corporation to market this seed.  Both companies are fully cooperating with APHIS.

”This is not the first detection of genetically engineered material in Clearfield CL131 rice seed.  Last week, APHIS announced that trace levels of a previously deregulated genetically engineered trait had been identified in Clearfield CL131.

”Because of the possibility that the genetic material in question is regulated, APHIS is conducting an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the release and whether any violations of USDA regulations occurred.”

 



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  USDA BARS PLANTING OF RICE SUSPECTED OF GMO TAINT

SOURCE: Reuters

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2007-03-06T031013Z_01_N05314874_RTRIDST_0_USA-AGRICULTURE-RICE-UPDATE-1.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna

DATE:   05.03.2007

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USDA BARS PLANTING OF RICE SUSPECTED OF GMO TAINT

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department ordered seed dealers on Monday not to sell a long-grain rice seed that may contain a genetic modification not approved for planting.

USDA issued ”emergency action notifications” to distributors to prevent planting of Clearfield CL131 seed. Similar orders will be issued to farmers to prevent use of the seed until USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection tests the rice.

Arkansas state officials say the Clearfield variety apparently carries the Liberty Link RICE601 gene material, a GMO strain made by Bayer CropScience. The rice variety disrupted the U.S. rice industry in the summer of 2006 after the material, which was not cleared for food use, was found in commercial bins in Arkansas and Missouri.

BASF Agricultural Products, said late on Monday, that it is removing all Clearfield CL131 rice seed from the marketplace. BASF Agricultural is a unit of German chemical group BASF AG.

APHIS Administrator Ron DeHaven said his agency acted ”because the genetic material detected in Clearfield CL131 seed might be regulated, in which case it would not be approved for commercial use.” USDA was informed last week of the potential problem by BASF, which developed the seed, and by Ag Horizon, licensed by BASF to market the seed.

”BASF notified the USDA immediately after becoming aware of the laboratory findings and we continue to work cooperatively with USDA on this situation,” Andy Lee, a director with BASF said in a statement.

Clearfield 131 was not developed as a genetically engineered variety. It is popular among U.S. rice growers because it is resistant to red rice weed.

USDA, through its own testing, is in the process of confirming the results reported by BASF, said DeHaven.

BASF said it remains committed to the Clearfield technology and is working with Bayer CropScience to ”determine the scope and source of the GM presence in Clearfield seed.”

Last week, APHIS said trace levels of a previously deregulated genetically engineered trait had been identified in Clearfield CL131.

 



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  HUMAN GENES IN RICE SPARKS NEW GM ROW

SOURCE: NutraIngredients, France

AUTHOR: Stephen Daniells

URL:    http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=74725-ventria-bioscience-gm-human-genes

DATE:   06.03.2007

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HUMAN GENES IN RICE SPARKS NEW GM ROW

06/03/2007 - Genetically modified rice containing human genes has received preliminary approval in the US, sparking new concerns and fears on both sides of the Atlantic.

California-based Ventria Bioscience has received approval from the US Department of Agriculture to cultivate over 3,000 acres of the rice in Kansas.

The issue of GM approval within the EU is one of the most contentious in agriculture. The recent announcement that US authorities had traced amounts of unapproved genetically modified (GM) food in samples of rice prompted the EU to clamp down on all imports from the US.

The immediacy of this action illustrated the stringent controls the EU has in place to guard against unauthorised products entering the food chain, and also reflected consumer fears over the technology.

The new rice is genetically engineered to produce lactiva and lysomin - two proteins found naturally in breast milk, and reported to have significant potential against diarrhoea.

Indeed, a clinical trial using the rice has been published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, and reports that 140 children suffering from diarrhoea and admitted to the hospital recovered significantly quicker and were less likely to relapse after taking an electrolyte solution containing lactiva and lysomin than children in the placebo group.

”Diarrhoeal illnesses are a major reason for children seeing their physician and a major cause of emergency room visits,” said Robert Wittler, from Kansas University School of Medicine at Wichita. ”This is an important study as decreasing the duration of diarrhoea lessens the likelihood of children becoming significantly dehydrated and allows children to return to day-care and school quicker and their parents who work outside the home can return to work sooner.”

Despite the potential benefits of against childhood diarrhoea - the second leading killer of under-fives globally - the news has been described as ”very disturbing” by GeneWatch UK, according to the Daily Mail. Researcher Becky Price is quoted: ”There are huge, huge health risks and people should rightly be concerned about this.”

Moreover, Friends of the Earth, campaigners against GM that have been propagating the line that GM foods should be banned from the food chain because they posed a potential risk to health, have also been putting their viewpoint across.

Campaigner Clare Oxborrow told the Daily Mail: ”Using food crops and fields as glorified drug factories is a very worrying development.

”If these pharmaceutical crops end up on consumers’ plates, the consequences for our health could be devastating.

”The biotech industry has already failed to prevent experimental GM rice contaminating the food chain.

”The Government must urge the U.S. to ban the production of drugs in food crops. It must also introduce tough measures to prevent illegal GM crops contaminating our food and ensure that biotech companies are liable for any damage their products cause.”

Source: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

February 2007, Volume 44, Number 2, Pages 258-264

”Efficacy of rice-based oral rehydration solution containing recombinant human lactoferrin and lysozyme in Peruvian children with acute diarrhea”

Authors: N. Zavaleta, D. Figueroa, J. Rivera, J. Sanchez, S. Alfaro, B. Lonnerdal

 



                                  PART 5

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  USDA INVESTIGATING BIOTECH RICE SEED

SOURCE: Forbes, USA

AUTHOR: The Associated Press, by Libby Quaid

URL:    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/03/06/ap3488443.html

DATE:   06.03.2007

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USDA INVESTIGATING BIOTECH RICE SEED

The Agriculture Department is trying to block the planting and distribution of a long-grain rice seed because it may contain traces of genetically engineered rice, officials said Monday.

The department began telling distributors Sunday they must hold the rice seed, scheduled for planting this spring.

The seed, known as Clearfield CL131, is trademarked by BASF AG, a German company that is the world’s largest chemical maker, and licensed for marketing by Horizon Ag of Memphis, Tenn. Farmers also are being notified, the department said.

Clearfield CL131 was not developed as a genetically modified rice, the department said. Even so, BASF and Horizon Ag reported to the department last week that test results had shown possible traces of unapproved genetic material.

”USDA, through its own testing, is in the process of confirming the results reported by BASF Corporation,” said Ron DeHaven, head of the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

DeHaven said trace levels of an already-approved genetically engineered trait also were identified in Clearfield CL131 last week.

”Because of the possibility that the genetic material in question is regulated,” the inspection service is investigating ”to determine the circumstances surrounding the release and whether any violations of USDA regulations occurred,” he said.

In a similar case, an unapproved strain of genetically modified rice made by Bayer CropScience AG, Liberty Link Rice 601, was discovered in grain elevators last year.

European Union nations decided to test all U.S. long-grain rice imports to make sure they did not contain biotech varieties not approved by the EU. The department subsequently approved the rice.

 



                                  PART 6

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  BASF COOPERATES WITH USDA ON CL131 RICE

SOURCE: PR Newswire, USA

AUTHOR: Bayer USA, Press Release

URL:    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-05-2007/0004539994&EDATE=

DATE:   05.03.2007

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BASF COOPERATES WITH USDA ON CL131 RICE

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, March 5 /PRNewswire/ - BASF Agricultural Products announced today it is cooperating with the United States Department of Agriculture to remove all CLEARFIELD(R) CL131 rice from the marketplace following discovery that some of the seed has been contaminated by an unidentified genetically modified (GM) event.

BASF is taking this action in conjunction with USDA’s March 4 issuance of an Emergency Action Notification on CL131 variety seed.

The order calls for no planting or distribution of CL131 seed.

CLEARFIELD is conventionally bred (non-GM) rice containing BASF technology that allows growers to control red rice and other tough weeds.

BASF asked for additional testing of CLEARFIELD rice following the recent discovery of trace amounts of LibertyLink(R) LL62 GM events in CLEARFIELD seed.

LibertyLink technology is a product of Bayer CropScience.

Ongoing testing of CL131 seed has been directed to detecting the presence of LL62, and another LibertyLink trait, LL601, both of which are deregulated and approved by federal authorities for human consumption.

On March 1, 2007, BASF notified USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of independent laboratory test findings on 2005 CL131 registered rice seed that indicated the presence of LibertyLink GM events, but tested negative for LL62 or LL601 - suggesting the presence of an unidentified and possibly regulated GM event.

BASF is working with the USDA in an effort to identify the unknown event.

”BASF notified the USDA immediately after becoming aware of the laboratory findings and we continue to work cooperatively with USDA on this situation,” said Andy Lee, Director of U.S.

Business Operations, Crop Protection Products, for BASF.

”BASF is steadfastly working to advance a clear and viable production environment for rice producers now and in future growing seasons.” BASF is in discussions with Bayer CropScience regarding technical assistance to expedite the identification of LL62, LL601 or other GM traits to help determine the scope and source of the GM presence in CLEARFIELD seed.

BASF remains firmly committed to CLEARFIELD technology and recognizes the substantial value that it offers rice producers.

BASF is working with federal authorities and the seed industry to remove contamination from CLEARFIELD varieties as part of an ongoing responsible initiative to eliminate propagation of GM traits within those varieties.

With sales of (euro)3,079 million in 2006, BASF’s Agricultural Products division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides.

Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality.

Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry.

BASF aims to turn knowledge rapidly into market success.

The vision of BASF’s Agricultural Products division is to be the world’s leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population.

Further information can be found on the web at http://www.agro.basf.com.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company.

Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas.

As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF’s high-value products and intelligent system solutions help its customers to be more successful.

BASF develops new technologies and uses them to meet the challenges of the future and open up additional market opportunities.

It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future.

BASF has over 95,000 employees and posted sales of (euro)52.6 billion (approximately $66.1 billion) in 2006.

Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at http://www.basf.com.

 


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