8 October 2007, Greenpeace International
Anheuser-Busch using experimental genetically-engineered (GE) rice to brew Budweiser
Amsterdam, International - Greenpeace today released the results of analysis showing the presence of an untested experimental genetically-engineered strain of rice at a mill in Arkansas, in the United States, which is operated by Anheuser- Busch to brew its beer brand, Budweiser. An independent laboratory, commissioned by Greenpeace, detected the presence of GE rice (Bayer LL601) in three out of four samples taken at the mill.
The experimental GE rice is one of three rice varieties that were first found in 2006 to have contaminated rice stocks in the US. Since then, GE contamination has been found in approximately 30 per cent of US rice stocks. This has had a massive negative impact on the US rice industry as foreign markets, where GE rice has not been approved, have been closed to US rice.
"Anheuser-Busch must make a clear statement about the level of GE contamination of the rice used to brew Budweiser in the US and spell out what measures are in place to ensure this beer does not reach the company's export markets," said Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International GE Campaigner.
"US beer drinkers need Anheuser-Busch to explain why it is not preventing use of this genetically-engineered rice in the US. If, as the company has informed Greenpeace, all of the Budweiser exported from the US or manufactured outside of the US is guaranteed GE free then Anheuser-Busch needs to state this publicly, and explain the double standard," said Stabinsky.
Greenpeace informed Anheuser-Busch of the test results prior to their release and sought clear information from the company on the extent of contamination and its global policy on the use of GE ingredients. Anheuser-Busch responded that the rice is approved in the US and is not used in brewing Budweiser destined for export. The full extent of the contamination remains unclear, however.
LL601 GE rice was retroactively granted approval by the US Dept of Agriculture in an effort to reduce public concern and company liability despite 15,000 public objections. The European Food Safety Authority stated that there was insufficient data to make a finding of safety. Greenpeace says that US consumers have a right to know if this GE rice is used to make Budweiser. This GE rice is not approved outside the US so the Budweiser brewed with it could not be sold abroad.
Anheuser-Busch is the largest single rice buyer in the US, buying 6-10 per cent of the annual US rice crop. Budweiser is one of only a few beers having rice as an ingredient. The brand is found in around 60 countries through a mix of exports and local brewing arrangements.
"We are asking Anheuser-Busch to make a global commitment to produce all of its beer GE free. Anything less will leave a bad taste in the mouth of Budweiser drinkers." said Doreen Stabinsky of Greenpeace.
October 08, 2007, Sun Star (The Philippines)
GMO critics hail court for TRO on Bayer's application
KORONADAL CITY -- Religious leaders here hailed the recent decision of a Philippine court in issuing a temporary restraining order against the genetically modified rice produced by Bayer Crop Science, Inc.
Oblates of Notre Dame Sister Pat Babiera, justice and peace coordinator of the Diocese of Marbel, assailed Bayer for trying to introduce genetically modified rice variety Liberty Link 62 (LL62) in the country.
"Consistent with our advocacy stance for preserving the integrity of creation-we laud the temporary restraining order issued by a court stopping the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry from approving the application of the genetically-modified rice Bayer LL62," she said in a statement.
Last month, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 101 Judge Evangeline Castillo Marigomen favored the injunction sought by environmental group Greenpeace.
"With the unfavorable publications and debates these genetically modified organisms have spawned, it is but prudent that the approval of the application of (Bayer) be restrained in the meantime considering that rice is a staple on the dining table of the Filipinos," her decision reads.
The injunction petition, which Greenpeace filed August 23, questioned the apparent lack of public voice and public consultation on GMO approvals by DA and BPI, particularly in the case of Bayer LL62's application.
Sister Babiera said it is "very risky" to allow genetically modified rice in the country, especially since Filipinos are rice consumers.
"We do not know yet the hazards that it will produce in our rice biodiversity, environment, and well-being," she added.
Babiera expressed fears that once LL62 is approved for commercial propagation in the country, the Philippines, which imports rice, could become a dumping ground of genetically-altered rice rejected by other countries.
She said they opposed the entry of genetically modified rice in the Philippines since the effects of another transgenic crop, the Bacillus Thuringiensis corn, have not been fully determined.
"And now here comes the genetically-modified rice with (also) unknown implications on human health, biodiversity, food security and farmers' livelihood," the nun said.
Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner in Southeast Asia, said that if Bayer's application for LL62 is approved, "the entry of GMO rice in the Philippines will irrevocably alter the future of the Filipinos' most important staple food."
He said the group filed the petition also because Bayer's application "will put our rice under further control of greedy corporate interests."
LL62 is rice with DNA injected with genetic material from an entirely different organism to resist a powerful weed killer, glufosinate, also produced by Bayer.
Bayer reportedly filed the application with the BPI in August last year for the approval of its GMO rice in the Philippines.
It filed the application at the height of the biggest genetic contamination case concerning United States rice supply.
06 Oct 2007, United Press International
Tainted rice route remains mystery
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 Agriculture officials say documents destroyed several years ago might have helped determine how the U.S. supply of long-grain rice became tainted.
After 14 months of investigation, the Agriculture Department said Friday it could not determine how a variety of unapproved genetically engineered rice entered the nation's supply, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Clues might have been found in routinely destroyed documents, agency officials said, recommending firms retain maps and records of where they plant experimental crops.
Because the investigation was inconclusive, no action will be taken against Bayer CropScience, whose gene-altered rice entered the supply, the Post reported.
The contamination -- by experimental genes that made the rice pesticide-tolerant -- caused countries worldwide to reject imports of U.S. long-grain rice, while farmers, scientists and environmental activists called for a strenuous review of gene-altered crops.
Some countries again are accepting U.S. rice if it is tested, but the European Union and Russia continue to buy rice elsewhere, costing U.S. agriculture hundreds of millions of dollars a year, the Post reported.
Tue Nov 20, 2007
U.S GMO rice found in China supermarkets -Greenpeace
- The environmental group, Greenpeace, said unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) rice from the United States was found in Beijing's supermarkets.
China does not allow sales and imports of GMO rice as rice is the staple food for most of the country's population, though it does allow imports, particularly GMO soybeans and corn, to be processed into products, or used as animal feed.
Greenpeace in Beijing collected 10 U.S food samples from two supermarkets in Beijing in August and September and testing showed one of the samples contained Liberty Link rice strain, it said in a statement.
Liberty Link RICE601, a genetically modified strain made by Bayer Crop Science (BAYG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), was discovered in U.S commercial rice supply last year and led to a sharp fall in U.S export sales, especially to countries in Europe.
China is a not a big rice importer from the United States.
A Ministry of Agriculture biosafety official said that the ministry was investigating the case.
There was no immediate comment from the U.S embassy in Beijing.
Greenpeace two years ago said it had found GMO rice being sold in markets in Chinese cities in the south. The strain was being test-grown at a university in Wuhan, central Hubei province. (Reporting by Niu Shuping and Vivi Lin, Editing by Peter Blackburn)
GREENPEACE PRESS RELEASE, 6 November 2007
Bayer rice scandal could cost industry over $1.2 billion
Amsterdam, 6 November 2007 - The costs of last year's scandal in which
Bayer's genetically engineered (GE) rice contaminated US rice stocks sold on
the international market could exceed US $1.2 billion, according to a report
by an independent economist published by Greenpeace International today.
Traces of the GE rice variety LL601, owned by Bayer, were discovered in US
rice supplies in 2006. The contamination arose from experimental field trials
of LL601 in the US which had ended in 2001. The discovery triggered the
largest financial and marketing disaster in the history of the US rice
industry. At least 30 countries were affected by the contamination and many
closed their markets to US rice, including major importers such as the
European Union and the Philippines.
"The exhorbitant cost of this contamination scandal should be a salutory
warning to any industry thinking of venturing down the GE route," said Dr
Doreen Stabinsky, GE campaigner at Greenpeace International. "It is clear
that GE crops, even GE field trials, are a high risk, high cost threat to
everyone in the conventional food production chain. Banning crop trials and
cultivation of GE rice is the only way to prevent a recurrence of such a
The report is the first quantification of the costs of the Bayer GE rice
scandal across the grain supply chain. Rice growers, harvesters, processors,
millers and retailers were unwittingly caught up in the scandal which affected
63 per cent of US rice exports. The overall cost to the industry, estimated at
over US $1.2 billion, included losses of up to US $253 million from food
product recalls. Future export losses amount to US $445 million.
Hundreds of US farmers and European businesses have filed lawsuits against
Bayer in attempts to recoup their losses. Punitive or statutory damages which
may be awarded against Bayer may double or even treble the final cost of the
GE contamination incident.
The lesson of the scandal is highly relevant for developing nations in which
the GE industry is attempting to extend its reach. Among them are India and
Thailand, two of the world's leading rice exporters.
"Greenpeace is extremely concerned that some major rice growers and exporters
are considering field trials of GE rice," said Jeremy Tager, leader of
Greenpeace International?s GE rice campaign. "GE field trials have been
approved in India. If GE rice planting goes ahead, it could threaten markets
for both basmati and non-basmati rice. Who will compensate India?s farmers
and millers if the Indian rice trade suffers a catastrophe on the scale of the
United States" he added.
"Bayer has blamed the contamination on an 'Act of God', and the US
Government has been unable to find what caused it despite a 14-month
investigation," said Dr Stabinsky of Greenpeace International. "There is
only one way for the rice industry to protect itself from another billion
dollar debacle and that is to prevent GE rice from ever being grown," she