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Is the Rice You’re Eating GMO Rice?

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golden rice

It’s impossible to know if what you’re eating is a GMO product or not. That’s because food companies who use GMO products have spent a great deal of money to fight the public’s demand for appropriate labeling.

It’s easy to understand why the food companies don’t want the public to have this product labeling since, according to Greenpeace, over 70% of the food products sold in Canada contain GMO. And, consumers have no way of knowing this since the food isn’t labeled to alert them that they are ingesting GMO foods.

Unaware, most people in the US were eating GMO corn in the early 1990s. So why is rice under the microscope again? Two words – Golden Rice.

New GE Rice – Golden Rice

Golden Rice is a GE (Genetically Engineered) rice created to provide vitamin A to address VAD (Vitamin A Deficiency). VAD is very prevalent in developing or poverty stricken countries. Greenpeace opposes Golden Rice and points out that:

“The solutions to fight VAD and other nutrient deficiencies are known, available and cost effective, what is lacking however is the political will and determination to put them in place.”




Bayer’s GMO Rice Disaster and the USDA Report of LibertyLink Rice Incidents

According to the 2007 USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) investigative report between the years 1998 and 2001, Bayer CropScience grew test fields of two “regulated lines of genetically engineered (GE) rice – LLRICE601 and LLRICE 604” that were subsequently discovered to have contaminated the US commercial food chain.

LLRICE stands for LibertyLink lines of rice. These were developed to accommodate Bayer’s Liberty herbicide (glufosinate) being sprayed on weeds within rice fields without the herbicide killing the rice plants. The USDA approved LibertyLink and the FDA completed the consultation process for two similar LibertyLink rice lines.

Yet, none were approved for commercial production.

The USDA’s investigation was initiated on August 1, 2006 after Bayer CropScience reported that regulated genetic material LLRICE601 had been detected in the long-grain rice variety Cheniere. In February 2007, the USDA investigation was expanded and LLRICE 604 was discovered in long-grain rice variety Clearfield 131 (CL131).

The USDA’s investigative arm APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) inspected 396 samples from 45 locations within 25 counties of 6 states that were harvested between 2002 and 2006. The results were no short- or medium-grain rice varieties were contaminated.

LLRICE601 had a limited present in long-grain variety Cheniere and LLRICE604 was limited to long-grain variety CL131. APHIS was unable to determine the mechanism for the two lines being introduced into the commercial rice supply, but was certain it wasn’t direct cross-pollination for LLRICE604 into CL131.

Based the USDA’s findings, the agency decided not to pursue “enforcement action against Bayer CropScience”. In fact, APHIS stated that:

“Occurrences can result from natural processes – movement of seeds, pollen or human-mediated processes associated with field testing, plant breeding or seed production. While BRS (Biotechnology Regulatory Services) measures of confinement and isolation distances might not prevent 100 percent of LLP occurrences.”

In addition, APHIS “reviewed scientific data and information about GE rice and determined that GE rice poses no identifiable concerns related to agriculture or the environment”.

On November 2006, APHIS extended deregulation to include LLRICE601.

The concerns of farmers and consumers about GMO crops have been well-founded with this kind of cross-pollination. In fact, Bayer’s rice incidences confirm that even years after the test field trials ended, the GMO rice was still reproducing and contaminating rice fields.

rice plants

Rice Farmers Sue Bayer CropScience

In 2006-2007, lawsuits brought against Bayer CropScience by rice farmers for contaminated rice crops were consolidated into class action lawsuits. Previously, individual lawsuits had been taken to court with a verdict found in favor of the farmers. But, as more farmers suffered from tainted rice that wasn’t wanted by foreign markets, those farmers lost revenue from expected exports.

In July 2011, Bloomberg reported that after five years of litigation, A Bayer AG (BAYN) unit of Bayer CropScience based in Leverkusen, Germany agreed to pay $750 million in a settlement to 11,000 US farmers for rice crops contaminated with company’s GE long-grain rice.

The farmers from Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi represented 85% of the US long-grain rice grown between 2006 and 2009. Over 30% of US ricelands were contaminated through cross-breeding from the GE rice crops.

The issue of whether or not the long-grain rice you eat contains GMO rice becomes a moot point when a new crop, especially a GMO crop finds its way into the food chain. It’s nearly impossible to be certain that it isn’t still finding its way into crops.

While rice and rice noodles aren’t approved for GE or GMO, it’s still possible that you consume GMO ingredients through packaged rice mixes. These often contain GMO corn starch, soybeans or vegetable oils. No one knows the far-reaching effects of GMO or GE crops and the harm they may pose to the natural properties of food and the environment.


Image Credits:
(1) Wikipedia: Golden Rice
(2) Wikipedia: Rice Plants
(3) Wikipedia: Biosynthesis of Golden Rice

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
 
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

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Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
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