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Unauthorized GM Rice Threatens World Supply

Strains left over from Bayer field trials found in US rice exports in over 30 countries

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Strains of unauthorized, genetically modified (GM) rice have been found in United States' exports in over 30 countries, threatening 'widespread contamination' to the world's rice supply.

According to a recent report by the GM Contamination Register, which is a project of Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK, during 2006 and 2007 the USDA detected traces of three varieties of unapproved GM rice owned by pesticide giant Bayer CropScience (or one of its earlier derivations—Aventis CropScience or AgrEvo) in the general rice supply.

This news follows the recent discovery of a strain of non-approved GM wheat on a farm in Oregon.

“Scientific studies confirm that GM contamination is unavoidable once GM crops are grown in a region,” writes Earth Open Source in their report GMO Myths and Truths (pdf). “‘Coexistence’ rapidly results in widespread contamination of non-GM crops," they continue, "through cross-pollination, spread of GM seed by farm machinery, and inadvertent mixing during storage.”

According to the official USDA report into the incident identified the Bayer field trials as the source of contamination but was unable to determine whether cross pollination or mechanical mixing was the mechanism responsible.

Further, they note that the contamination "has had a major impact on US rice exports" as US rice has been pulled off the shelves in numerous countries and banned outright in Russia and Bulgaria.


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