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Bayer Genetically Modified Rice

rice, bayer crop sciences, genetically modified rice, GM rice, contamination of rice, LLRICE601, Liberty Link Rice 601, class action lawsuit, product liability Rice farmers throughout the United States have filed suit alleging that Bayer CropSciences LLP failed to prevent its genetically modified (GM) rice from contaminating their crops and this failure subsequently impacted the price for their rice crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that commercial long-grain rice supplies in the United States are contaminated with "trace amounts" of genetically engineered rice which is unapproved for human consumption. The unapproved variety is known as "Liberty Link" or "LLRICE 601" and was developed and tested by Bayer CropSciences LLP. U.S. agriculture and food safety authorities learned on July 31, 2006 that this unapproved rice had been found in commercial bins in Arkansas and Missouri. The discovery marked the first instance in which an unapproved GM rice had been found in the United States rice supply. LLRICE 601 had been modified to provide resistance to a specific herbicide. This genetically modified rice is illegal for marketing to humans because it has not undergone environmental and health impact reviews by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

LLRICE 601 was field-tested from 1998 to 2001 under permits granted by the USDA, but Bayer Corp Science LLP did not seek commercial approval for it. Although Bayer stopped field tests of LLRICE 601 in 2001, the contamination appeared in the 2005 harvest, United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said — a detail that Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, found "alarming." Johanns acknowledged that the discovery could have a significant impact on rice sales — especially exports, which are worth close to $1 billion a year. Many U.S. trading partners have strict policies forbidding importation of certain genetically engineered foods, even if they are approved in the United States and especially if they are not, as is the current case.

Because there are tight restrictions on genetically modified crops and products in the European Union (EU), the EU has placed strict limits on U.S. rice imports and U.S. rice prices have dropped dramatically as a result. If other countries cut off imports, as they have done in past contamination instances, the political and economic impact could rival or exceed that of the last such major event — the discovery in 2000 that the U.S. corn supply had become contaminated with StarLink corn. StarLink, which was engineered to be insect-resistant, was approved for use in animal feed but not for humans because of its potential to trigger allergic reactions. We believe that the LLRICE 601 contamination has and will continue to detrimentally impact rice prices, rice futures prices, and U.S. rice exports generally.

U.S. rice growers are responsible for about 12 percent of world rice trade. Three-fourths of the crop is long grain, grown almost entirely in the lower Mississippi Valley, in states such as Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

We are proudly representing rice farmers for their economic damages caused by the depressed prices resulting from this contamination. If you are a rice farmer and would like more information about your possible claims, please contact us to discuss your case.