View Full Version : Bayer to pay $750M in genetic rice settlement

08-09-11, 09:31 AM
Associated Press
July 1 2011

German conglomerate Bayer CropScience agreed Friday to pay up to $750 million to settle several lawsuits with U.S. farmers who claimed a strain of the company's unapproved genetically modified rice contaminated the food supply and hurt their crop prices.

The litigation goes back to 2006, when Bayer disclosed that an experimental strain of genetically altered rice was found in U.S. food supplies. No human health problems have been associated with the contamination, but that wasn't known at the time.

"Back in 2006, this rice had not been approved for human consumption," said Don Downing, a St. Louis-based attorney who represents some of the farmers who sued. The fear that the rice was unsafe, along with the notion that genetically altered rice was somehow impure, quashed sales in major markets including the European Union, which has tight restrictions on genetically modified crops. So, farmers from Arkansas, which produces about half of the nation's rice, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, sued Bayer, saying the accident closed off critical export markets and caused the price of rice to drop.

The settlement reached Friday will extend to all U.S. farmers who planted long-grain rice between 2006 and 2010. Downing, who has represented farmers in the case since 2006, said the agreement was likely the largest settlement in the history of genetically altered crops. "I don't think there's any settlement involving genetically modified seed that approaches the size of this," he said.

Rice growers have between 90 and 150 days to submit their claims, depending on which types of compensation they're seeking. But, farmers who represent 85 percent of the average acres planted from 2006 to 2009 don't sign up, Bayer can walk away.

"Although Bayer CropScience believes it acted responsibly in the handling of its biotech rice, the company considers it important to resolve the litigation so that it can move forward focused on its fundamental mission of providing innovative solutions to modern agriculture," Bayer spokesman Greg Coffey said in a written statement.

Read more: http://gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13297

08-09-11, 09:33 AM
Does anyone know if rice being grown now (non-organic) has the genetically modified gene in it still?

08-09-11, 10:04 AM
Here's what a knowledgeable friend has to say:

I really can't say that US rice is safe. In 2006 those Genetically Engineered genes were found in rice grown in five US states. The issue has potentially been further complicated by Pharmaceutical Rice which began in 2006. Ventria Bioscience developed and took a new variety of PHARMA RICE to grow in a remote Kansas town. The Genetically Engineered Pharma Rice produces proteins for a new Diarrhea medication.

As far as I know Thai rice may be the best choice if it's not contaminated with Cadmium and Arsenic. There are definite health benefits from rice against human leukemia cells. The anticancer effects of rice bran consist of cytotoxicity, anti-proliferation, anti-promotion, anti-invasion and induction of apoptosis. www.thaitox.org/media/upload/file/Journal/2009-2/26%20paper%202.pdf (http://www.thaitox.org/media/upload/file/Journal/2009-2/26%20paper%202.pdf)

Since I don't personally consume rice, this has not been an issue for me so I have not paid close attention to developments. I do eat wild rice, which is technically a seed and cannot cross-pollinate with domesticated rice.

08-09-11, 12:02 PM
After the GMO rice was released, testing by organic rice producers showed extensive cross contamination and almost drove them out of business.

08-09-11, 12:43 PM
Thank you both. I had stopped rice a couple of months earlier when I went grain free and seem to be doing better, so for now will avoid it. I do think quinoa and wild rice are two good substitutes for grains on occasion.