USDA, FDA Say Genetically-Engineered Rice Traces Pose No Threat

Bayer CropScience cooperating with government agencies to determine if violations occurred.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have confirmed that the biotechnology traces Bayer CropScience identified in samples of commercial rice in the U.S. pose no human health, food or feed safety, or environmental concern. 

Bayer CropScience is cooperating closely with the both government agencies in connection with the trace amounts of regulated genetically engineered (GE) rice detected in samples taken from commercial long grain rice.

These traces relate to a pre-commercial rice line, LLRICE601, developed by Bayer CropScience, that produces a protein conferring herbicide tolerance. The protein is well known to regulators and has been confirmed safe for food and feed use in a number of crops by regulators in many countries, including the EU, Japan, Mexico, U.S. and Canada.

In a statement made by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns,"Bayer has developed many GE herbicide-tolerant products with the protein called Liberty Link, three of which are rice. The regulated line is LLRICE 601 and Bayer reports finding only trace amounts of it during testing. LLRICE 601 was field tested between 1998 and 2001. Two deregulated lines, LLRICE 62 and LLRICE 06, have been through thorough safety evaluations and have been deemed safe for use in food and safe in the environment, although these lines have not been commercialized.

"Based on the available data and information, the USDA has concluded that the presence of LLRICE 601 in the food and feed supply poses no safety concerns. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) also conducted a risk assessment, which indicates LLRICE 601 is safe in the environment."

Bayer does not have plans to market LLRICE 601 and has not requested deregulation. Based on reports that LLRICE 601 is in the marketplace and a petition from Bayer, APHIS will conduct a deregulation process to determine if any violations of USDA regulations occurred.

"The protein found in LLRICE 601 is approved for use in other products. It has been repeatedly and thoroughly scientifically reviewed and used safely in food and feed, cultivation, import and breeding in the United States, as well as nearly a dozen other countries around the world," said Johanns in the statement. 


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