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Genetically Modified Rice Trial Cost Bayer $2 Million

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:31 AM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Genetic Engineering, GE, GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms, Bayer CropScience, StarLink, LibertyLink Rice

Genetically modified rice contamination into nearby farmer's fields will cost Bayer $2 million.

More Cases To Come


IMAGE SOURCE: GM Free Scotland Web site/ video on GM rice by Bayer by Greenpeace

It is the first in a series of test cases challenging the promises of agricultural biotechnology.

Bayer CropScience LP must pay about $2 million to two Missouri farmers after an experimental genetically engineered variety of rice, called LibertyLink, contaminated their crops.

The federal case has been in a St. Louis court for about a month and, in a broad sense, represents every farmer in America who has had their crops contaminated by the novel proteins of experimental and unapproved agricultural products derived from genetic engineering (GE), also known as genetically modified organisms (GMO).

In this case LibertyLink rice, or LLRICE601, is created by crossing the DNA of plant with a bacterial containing gene that causes the rice to produce a protein that makes it resistant to a Bayer's herbicide.

Bayer owns the seeds, sells it to farmers under strict user agreements. Then Bayer’s herbicide is used exclusively to douse the field, leaving only the GMO plant standing.

The rice variety was not approved for human consumption when from 1998 to 2001 Bayer grew the GE rice in test fields with Louisiana State University.

Winds and a failure to segregate seeds and plants eventually cause the GMO to drift into nearby fields in Crowley, Louisiana. LLRICE601 eventually contaminated more than 30 percent of U.S. rice lands in 2006, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

More than 1.000 similar cases have been filed against Bayer.

Japan, Russia, and the European Union have strict limits on U.S. rice imports. The EU requires long-grain rice from the U.S. be certified GMO-free.

When the USDA found the GE rice in the food chain in 2006, rice futures plunged and cost U.S. farmers about $150 million, according to a consolidated complaint. The USDA deregulated LLRICE 601 in November 2006, but it is not sold commercially.

The $2 million jury award was only for compensatory damages since jurors decided that Bayer had been lax in its handling of the experimental seed.

One lawyer representing the plaintiffs told jurors that $80 million in punitive damages would not be too much to send a message, reports Bloomberg, but punitive damages were not awarded. Jurors said it hadn’t been proven that Bayer did the contamination on purpose.

November 2006, the USDA deregulated Liberty Link rice, also known as LLRICE601, though it was not approved to develop commercially for human consumption.

The next in a line of litigation will involve farmers from Arkansas and Mississippi and is scheduled to start January 11 in St. Louis.

The case is reminiscent of a similar GMO contamination settlement involving corn.

In the fall of 2000, GMO corn "StarLink” was approved for use as animal feed but found its way into the human food chain after a failure to segregate seeds.

Corn products, such as taco shells, had to be recalled from store shelves and a class-action was settled for $110 million plus interest to farmers whose crops were tainted with StarLink corn, or who suffered from a drop in corn prices due to the controversy over gene-spliced StarLink corn. #


Posted by Elizabeth Lerman-Kling
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 1:03 PM EST

This is a fantastic piece! Thank you for compiling the background articles as well. I feel that GMO is perhaps the greatest threat to our ability to feed ourselves in the future. It is so wrong that these organisms have been introduced into our biosystems and food chain without proper disclosure and without containment.

Thank you for reporting on this so very important news!

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 1:21 PM EST

Thank you for noticing Elizabeth.

These questionable products have been quietly slipped into our food system with virtually no testing for human toxicity. It appears to be reckless at the very least and many feel that our increase in allergenicity to foods may be due to the novel proteins that are now present in our food.

The more you read about these technologies, the queazier you get..... thanks!

Posted by Elizabeth Lerman-Kling
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 2:28 PM EST

Yes!!! Huge health and environmental problems are beginning to be documented as related to GMOs. The significant decreases in the Monarch Butterfly and Honeybee populations can be attributed to the BT pesticide that these genetically engineered crops are designed to produce in concentrations 1,000 times what is used in organic farming applications--and the BT is in each cell of the plant and transfers into the soil systems too. Super species of insects are becoming immune to the BT. The previously safe and effective concentrations of BT may become useless to the organic farmers. GMOs are cross pollinating with native species. And as you cited about the allergies ... the incidence of soy allergies rose hugely after introduction of GMO soy.

Research--which has been limited--partly due to the Biotech industries'patents and the lack of labeling--has shown fertility risks associated with GMO soy. Also the bacteria in human guts may start producing the BT pesticide after ingestion of these GMOs which are in upwards of 75% of our processed food products in the US and Canada. I could go on and on... And I do get quite nauseated when I think of these consequences...and how it affects us with each bite of food we take. At this point, most all the corn, soy, canola, and cotton crops in the US are contaminated with some amount of genetically modified organisms.

I was actually writing again to thank you (Thank you!)and to say that the video clip is not working for me. Maybe it's my computer?

Also,I wrote you privately about the work that GMO Truth Alliance(On FB and Twitter)is doing.

Anonymous User
Posted by Elizabeth Lerman-Kling
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 7:51 PM EST

Re: the video of GM Rice
Oh... it's just an image. Ha ha!:D I thought there was an actual video clip or spoof. The power of suggestion is very strong! The image is a nice touch!

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 11:42 PM EST


Click on the IMAGE SOURCE ( Web site ) at bottom of the above story and you'll end up at GM Free Scotland. The video is at the end of the story.!! Enjoy- it's funny.

Posted by Elizabeth Lerman-Kling
Saturday, December 19, 2009 12:11 AM EST

The video was great!! Thank you! Greenpeace has a petition associated with it, which "asks all governments around the world to protect consumers and farmers, their crops and fields by rejecting Bayer’s GM rice, and to stop GM rice field trials."

See the video and sign the petition via this link: LINK

Posted by Elizabeth Lerman-Kling
Saturday, December 19, 2009 12:11 AM EST

The video was great!! Thank you! Greenpeace has a petition associated with it, which "asks all governments around the world to protect consumers and farmers, their crops and fields by rejecting Bayer’s GM rice, and to stop GM rice field trials."

See the video and sign the petition via this link: LINK

Comments for this article are closed.

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