March 06, 2007

USDA Recalls GMO Contaminated Rice Seed

Genetically modified plants are perfectly harmless and totally under control:

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. ...

How fun. Bayer, the nation's rice farmers salute you.

... 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. ...

Weeks before planting season, GMO contamination in a non-engineered strain of rice puts what a USDA staffer described to me as being about half the U.S. stock of rice seed out of commission. Farmers are going to be hit hard by this and the inspections are going to cost taxpayers a bundle. It's either recall the rice or lose the most lucrative export markets for the year entirely.

From the Center for Food Safety:

... This new contamination episode follows a similar debacle last summer, when the non-engineered Cheniere variety of rice was found contaminated with LL601, another unapproved genetically engineered rice from Bayer. LL601 contamination led to rejection of U.S. long-grain rice exports to Europe, resulting in sharp drops in rice prices and lost income for farmers. Cheniere will not be planted this year to prevent propagation of the LL601 contaminant, which remains unapproved in Europe. The new ban is intended to prevent a repeat of that situation with Clearfield 131.

The loss of Clearfield 131 and Cheniere, which together represent 39% of the South’s certified seed supply, is causing great hardship to Southern, especially Arkansas, rice farmers, who are unable to find sufficient amounts of uncontaminated seed as planting season nears.

... USDA is responsible for ensuring that unapproved genetically engineered crops grown in outdoor field trials do not contaminate commercial-grade crops, but has come in for harsh criticism of numerous regulatory failings. In late 2005, USDA’s Inspector General issued a scathing audit documenting that the Department was not even aware of the locations of many field trials, and failed to conduct many, supposedly required, inspections of field trial sites. In February 2007, a federal court ruled against USDA for allowing genetically engineered crop field trials to take place without conducting environmental assessments. ...

GMO is perfectly harmless. Unless you're a farmer. Or a taxpayer. Or someone who was expecting rice to cost a little less than it's likely to this year.

Some people, which is to say the big seed companies, might argue that this is why the World Trade Organization should break down the trade injunctions against GMO crops. Those are the same people who keep telling us that there aren't any risks from these organisms getting into the food supply or interbreeding with wild plants. Yet they also aren't performing safety testing, they can't seem to control where their products show up, and they plainly aren't properly reporting their activities to the regulatory agencies who are responsible for protecting the food supply.

Why should the public trust anything that the companies peddling these gene modified crops say?

Natasha is currently an intern with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, an organization dedicated to outreach and education in sustainable agriculture and food systems issues. The opinions expressed in this post are her own and are not representations on behalf of MFAI. For regular legislative alerts about food sustainability issues, sign up with the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture.

Posted by natasha at March 6, 2007 03:17 PM | Agriculture | Technorati links |

And if it gets through to planting unnoticed, can't the company sue for use of its patented material with compensation?

Posted by: tjewell at March 7, 2007 06:54 AM

Protest against austerity plan

Airbus lands in the French election campaign

The French state has to save jobs at airbus: With this demand thousands of persons employed at airbus took their protest to the street. Paris government is willing ro approve a capital increase.

Paris - at the airbus seat in Toulouse more than 10,000 employees laid down the work, in order to protest against the cost reduction plan plan "power 8" on Tuesday. Also in other airbus plants such as Méaulte, Saint Nazaire or Nantes, which are threatened by lockdown partially, a total of about 5000 employees went on the road. Annoyance is overwhlming that the enterprise with its stout filled order books wants to slash 10,000 of its 57,000 working places- 4300 of it in France, 3700 in Germany.

It is illegal that one wants many jobs caps with the "showpiece of the European technology" in such a manner, criticized a boss of the formerly communist trade union CGT, Berne . The other trade unions in Toulouse threatened with hard protests such as long-term strikes - or with blockades, if the successor of the best seller A320 is produced as planned in Hamburg and no more in Toulouse. Several left candidates of the French presidency elections and trade unions demanded to negotiate the scheme of reconstruction again(anew).

The airbus dossier moves thereby into the center of the French election campaign. The socialist candidate Ségolène Royal wanted to step forward in Berlin yesterday during a meeting with Kanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) for the French jobs. Before she had demanded a "moratorium" for the airbus cost reduction plan.

Their two conservative rivals Nicolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou pulled tight and demanded an intervention of the state(france). Also prime minister Dominique de Villepin showed support for this unjustified demand. "the state must play its role", he meant , whereby he looks officially for an "European Economy patriotism", but exes French interests.

A similar basic clay/tone Paris media showed. They do not question the French-German capital parity of in each case 22.5 per cent with the airbus mother EADS openly. But many arguments for a stronger French portion are listed.

Minister of economics Thierry Breton strove to smooth the waves. He meant, a capital increase was probably only in some years necessary, in order to finance the new A350. The French state wants to participate in this rise "in relation to our portion". Thus it does not stress a higher portion than so far. Breton advances toward applyin messages, France wants more weight in EADS than Germany.

The minister of economics expressed however criticism about the French-German double head. Also Sarkozy explained, this construction obstructs the enterprise, it could no longer have existence . In the future "the best ones" would have to stand at the top of the company, which come according to his opinion of course from France.

Leaving Berlin

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Michael Glos (CSU) attributes the recent "tones" from France to the election campaign. Airbus is "at last but not least a success project, because it was carried together from Germany and France". The owner structure is to be kept "in such a way" .

the Federal association of the German industry called for restraint 2. BDI boss Juergen Thumann said to the Frankfurter Rundschau, with EADS and airbus "the (lately practised) partner structure had worked satisfactorily". Even if in the French election campaign "now demands come up to change", "one should not change anything in the property structures at least in the next three years. in the medium outlook the countries involved should reduce together their portions and their influence ", he inquired. brae/mbe

Posted by: ccoaler at March 7, 2007 11:18 AM

sry exes french interests
eyes french interests

Posted by: ccoaler at March 7, 2007 11:21 AM

And the US has the temerity to demand that Iraqi farmers stop saving seed to plant in the next year and patronize Big Agra instead.

Those who voted for this administration have much to answer for.

Posted by: Scorpio at March 7, 2007 11:34 AM


Bill Gates Urges Better Education, More Tech Visas Before Senate Panel

Posted by: wedwd at March 7, 2007 04:24 PM

I found this blog from the ThisModernWorld Blog referral list because I had read everything on CounterPunch and WhateverItIsImAgainsIt. I picked yours because it's entitled Pacific views. I'm not sure if your title refers to the left coast, or pacifism (i.e. Pacifica). Either way, I like your writing and intend to return.

Posted by: wizardbill at March 7, 2007 08:58 PM