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CONTAMINATION: Rebuilding market share after GE rice backlash in the USA



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  REBUILDING MARKET SHARE AFTER GE RICE BACKLASH

SOURCE: Food Navigator, USA

AUTHOR: Sarah Hills

URL:    http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Rebuilding-market-share-after-GE-rice-backlash

DATE:   10.12.2008

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REBUILDING MARKET SHARE AFTER GE RICE BACKLASH

Strides have been made by the US rice industry to regain market share after genetically engineered traits were found to have mixed with conventional rice supplies, disrupting trade.

The USA Rice Federation said nearly all test results for the Southern long-grain rice crop for 2008 were negative for the presence of genetically engineered (GE) traits.

It comes two years after trace amounts of regulated GE rice (called Liberty Link) were found to have ?commingled? with supplies of conventional rice, which led several trading partners to refuse US rice exports.

The worldwide costs resulting from the Liberty Link incidents, including loss of export markets, seed testing, elevator cleaning, and food recalls in countries where the variety of rice had not been approved, ranged from an estimated $741m to $1.285bn.

Federation chairman, Jamie Warshaw, said: ?USA Rice Federation has led this issue at home and abroad, and continues to work to regain lost market share attributed to the Liberty Link issue.

?This remains a top priority for our industry.?

GE crops have potential for enhanced yields at a time of food insecurity where food manufacturers face volatile commodity prices.

However, opponents argue that not enough is known about the safety of GE crops and food, and that they should be more rigorously controlled.

Government agencies are tasked with restricting the growth or use of a GE crop so that it does not enter into the food supply and mix with varieties without being monitored, traced, or labeled.

But in response to the Liberty Link issue, the rice industry implemented a plan that required testing of rice seed prior to planting.

State authorities in Arkansas, which produces nearly 60 percent of the US long-grain crop, mandated that all seed planted in the state be tested. Louisiana, which is the second largest long-grain rice producing state, also tested its seed.

Now the federation said final tests for 2008 show that less than one tenth of one percent (99.9 percent) of the samples registered any Liberty Link presence.

It added: ?That is a significant improvement over last year?s results in which long-grain rice samples were 99.5 percent Liberty Link free.?

Prevention measures

The FDA said that the low-level presence in food or feed of the regulated genetic material from these rice varieties did not pose any human health concerns.

However, they did impact the export market for US long-grain rice, which in recent years accounted for as much as 50 percent of total US rice sales.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just published the results of an investigation into the issue and said there have been six cases of unauthorized release of GE crops into the food supply, including two Liberty Link incidents.

It recommends that government agencies overseeing the regulation of GE crops should do more to improve co-ordination and monitoring.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  STATE ADDS 3RD YEAR OF RICE-SEED TESTING

SOURCE: Northwest Arkansas? News, USA

AUTHOR: Nancy Cole

URL:    http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/246202/

DATE:   10.12.2008

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STATE ADDS 3RD YEAR OF RICE-SEED TESTING

The state Plant Board voted unanimously Tuesday to extend for a third year the requirement that all rice seed planted in Arkansas be tested for traces of genetically engineered varieties.

The board also re-established a $14-per-acre boll-weevil-eradication fee in 2009 for the Northeast Delta Zone and added the snakehead fish family and quagga mussel to the aquatic nuisance-species list of Arkansas? bait and ornamental fish certification program.

Arkansas first mandated rice-seed testing in 2006 after an unapproved transgenic longgrain rice was discovered in U.S. rice supplies.

The discovery disrupted about half of all U.S. rice exports, as many countries banned the product and others established testing programs.

The regulation approved Tuesday requires that any rice seed used for planting in 2009 be tested before April 1 for the presence of Bayer CropScience?s LibertyLink traits. References to Cheniere and Clearfield 131 rice were removed from the regulation, along with a requirement for documented field histories of farmer-saved seeds.

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation submitted a written comment supporting the new riceseed testing regulation as part of a broader effort to re-establish the marketability of U.S. rice.

?The quick action by the rice industry and by the Arkansas State Plant Board showed our customers worldwide a goodfaith effort to rid the U.S. rice supply of the unapproved LibertyLink traits and were necessary to bring U.S. rice back into the global marketplace,? the federation wrote.

This year?s U.S. rice crop tested ?99.9 percent negative? for the presence of transgenic traits, said Brian King, a Marked Tree rice merchant and chairman of the USA Rice Merchants? Association.

Stuttgart rice farmer Ray Vester said the state?s rice-seed testing program was largely responsible for the success to date in eliminating transgenic traits from U.S. rice supplies.

Arkansas produces about half the nation?s rice crop.

?When this began, the people who were dealing with StarLink, a genetically modified corn [that contaminated U.S. corn supplies in 2000], told us, ?Don?t worry. You can?t solve the problem,?? Vester said.

Nonetheless, the rice industry backed efforts to eliminate LibertyLink traits from U.S. rice supplies, he said.

Testing protocols required by the European Union still are being addressed, Vester said.

?We are approaching once again acceptance of U.S. rice back into Europe,? he said.

In other business, the board adopted a resolution calling for an increase in the current $50,000 bond required of termite-control companies and the establishment of a new requirement that all companies providing termite protection services in the state be covered by a damage-repair insurance policy. Legislation along these lines is expected to be introduced during the coming state legislative session.

The board also approved the assessment of a $1,000 civil penalty on Benton Flying Service Inc. of Dyess in Mississippi County. During a formal hearing in October, the aerial applicator was found guilty of violating state law regarding a glyphosate application near Lepanto, which drifted off target to a nearby grain sorghum field and caused crop damage.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  U.S. COMMERCIAL RICE SUPPLY 99.9% PURE!

SOURCE: USA Rice Federation, USA

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.usarice.com/news/news_detail.cgi/415/5

DATE:   08.12.2008

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U.S. COMMERCIAL RICE SUPPLY 99.9% PURE!

LITTLE ROCK, AR, December 8, 2008 ? The final testing results for the Southern long-grain rice crop show that the U.S. commercial rice supply is virtually clear of the genetically engineered Liberty Link traits that caused market disruption after their announced discovery on Aug, 18, 2006.

Nearly all test results for the 2008 crop were negative for the presence of genetically engineered traits, with less than one tenth of one percent of the samples registering any Liberty Link presence. That is a significant improvement over last year year?s results in which long-grain rice samples were 99.5 percent Liberty Link free.

?This is a tremendous achievement for our industry,? said Brian King, USA Rice Federation Biotechnology Task Force chairman. ?There?s no clearer demonstration of what the U.S. rice industry can accomplish in the face of incredible challenges.

?We deeply appreciate the efforts of the rice farmers, millers and merchants who contributed to these outstanding results,? said King, who is also the USA Rice Merchants? Association chairman.

The much improved test results of the 2008 crop follow logically from the implementation of the rice industry Seed Plan that required testing of rice seed prior to planting.

Arkansas state authorities mandated that all seed planted in the state be tested, and no Liberty Link traits were found prior to this year?s planting. Arkansas produces nearly 60 percent of the U.S. long-grain crop, and state seed regulators have a significant impact on seed planted in the neighboring states of Mississippi and Missouri.

Louisiana, likewise, tested all seed prior to planting and no Liberty Link traits were reportedly detected. Louisiana is the second largest long-grain rice producing state.

USA Rice Federation Senior VP Bob Cummings shared preliminary 2008 testing results at a workshop Nov. 12-13 in Seville, Spain, sponsored by the European Commission?s Joint Research Centre. Workshop participants called for the EU to establish a low-level presence or tolerance, policy for genetically engineered traits that have been approved in another country, but are awaiting EU approval.

?USA Rice Federation has led this issue at home and abroad, and continues to work to regain lost market share attributed to the Liberty Link issue,? USA Rice Federation Chairman Jamie Warshaw said. ?This remains a top priority for our industry.?


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