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California Rice Commission Approves Two GE Drug-Producing Rice Varieties Spliced with Synthetic Human Genes

On March 29th, the California Rice Commission gave their approval for the planting and milling of two genetically engineered drug-producing rice varieties spliced with synthetic human genes. This will be the first commercial pharmaceutical food crop in the world and could be planted anywhere in the state.

The Food and Drug Administration has established a zero tolerance for pharmaceutical crop products in food and animal feed. Contamination of the food supply with this rice is inevitable!

Final approval for this Pharmaceutical Rice must still be granted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). CDFA may be making a decision at any time.

[ Californians for GE-Free Agriculture I Background on GE Rice in California I Raising Risk: Field Testing of GE Crops in the US I BioTech IMC I PDX-IMC's GMO Page ]
* photo by Ian Hunter

URGENT ACTION ALERT - STOP DRUG PRODUCING RICE FROM BEING GROWN

On March 29th, the California Rice Commission gave their approval for the planting and milling of two genetically engineered drug-producing rice varieties spliced with synthetic human genes. This will be the first commercial pharmaceutical food crop in the world and could be planted anywhere in the state.

The Food and Drug Administration has established a zero tolerance for pharmaceutical crop products in food and animal feed. Contamination of the food supply with this rice is inevitable!

This "pharm" rice is produced by Ventria Biosciences, a Sacramento-based company. Ventria's rice has been genetically engineered by inserting human genes, and it produces drugs for infant formula and as antibiotic substitutes in poultry feed.

These rice varieties have not yet received federal approval for marketing as drugs, and have not been approved for human or animal consumption by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government has not evaluated their safety for humans or the environment.

Final approval for this Pharmaceutical Rice must still be granted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). CDFA may be making a decision at any time.

* * *

TAKE ACTION TODAY

Send an email to the CDFA Secretary, A.G. Kawamura encouraging him to delay approval of the Ventria's rice until this rice has been approved for human consumption and at the very least to allow for public input during the decision making process.

You can send an email directly at: www.thecampaign.org/california.php

Or cut and paste the sample comments below and send to:
secretary (at) cdfa.ca.gov

You can also call the CDFA at: 916-654-0433

SAMPLE COMMENTS

TITLE: PLEASE STOP PHARMACEUTICAL RICE

Dear Secretary Kawamura,

I am writing to express my concern about the recent recommendation of the California Rice Commission to approve a protocol for the Ventria Biosciences pharmaceutical rice varieties.

This pharmaceutical rice has not been approved for human consumption by the federal government. Until approval is obtained by Ventria, no certification for commercial production in California should be granted.

The protocol allows for the planting of research crops anywhere in the state and the transportation of milled pharmaceutical rice from the restricted growing area in Southern California to any other region of California. This and other potential sources of contamination present great danger to the purity and reputation of California rice. Even a small risk of contamination is too great, and will not be tolerated by consumers or foreign markets. The California rice industry cannot afford contamination, or the risk of contamination from this rice.

I urge you to weigh these considerations carefully before you make a decision on the recommendation of the Rice Commission. I also strongly urge that you convene a public input process to hear from the wide range of people and organizations in California that have knowledge, concerns and information to incorporate in your decision.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
 
 


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GM giant abandons bid to grow crops in Britain

GM giant abandons bid to grow crops in Britain

31 March 2004

In a huge blow to the genetically modified food lobby, Bayer Cropscience has given up attempts to grow commercial GM maize in Britain.

The decision, blamed by the company on government restrictions, means no GM crop will be grown commercially in the UK in 2005 and raises questions about the future of GM in this country.

The German biotechnology company will announce today that its maize variety Chardon LL, which was to be developed as cattle feed, had been left "economically non-viable" because of conditions set by the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett when she gave limited approval to the growing of the crop this month.

A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said last night: "We do not apologise for the fact there is a tough EU-wide regulatory regime on GMs. This is a commercial decision made by Bayer and they have decided to withdraw their application, [which means] there will not be any commercial cultivation of GM crops in 2005 in the UK.

read the full article...
 

PLEASE STOP PHARMACEUTICAL RICE

Dear Secretary Kawamura,

I am writing to express my concern about the recent recommendation of the California Rice Commission to approve a protocol for the Ventria Biosciences pharmaceutical rice varieties.

This pharmaceutical rice has not been approved for human consumption by the federal government. Until approval is obtained by Ventria, no certification for commercial production in California should be granted.

The protocol allows for the planting of research crops anywhere in the state and the transportation of milled pharmaceutical rice from the restricted growing area in Southern California to any other region of California. This and other potential sources of contamination present great danger to the purity and reputation of California rice. Even a small risk of contamination is too great, and will not be tolerated by consumers or foreign markets. The California rice industry cannot afford contamination, or the risk of contamination from this rice.

I urge you to weigh these considerations carefully before you make a decision on the recommendation of the Rice Commission. I also strongly urge that you convene a public input process to hear from the wide range of people and organizations in California that have knowledge, concerns and information to incorporate in your decision.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,
Nick Rush
 

Re: California Rice Commission Approves Two GE Drug-Producing Rice Varieties Spliced with Synthetic Human Genes

I dont want none of this rice with human genes to be on my dinner plate. DO NOT DO IT!!!!
 

Re: California Rice Commission Approves Two GE Drug-Producing Rice Varieties Spliced with Synthetic Human Genes

DOnt be contaminating the rice with human genes, that is none to the good dawg. I aint cool wit that morbid lab rat garbage.
 

Re: California Rice Commission Approves Two GE Drug-Producing Rice Varieties Spliced with Synthetic Human Genes

Please do not approve the protocol for the Ventria Biosciences pharmaceutical rice varieties. This is dangerous because of the potential sources of contamination .
 

CDFA Rejects Pharmaceutical Rice

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER! CDFA Rejects Pharmaceutical Rice.

On Friday, April 10th, the California Department of Food & Agriculture denied an
emergency request by the California Rice Commission (CRC) to allow Ventria
Biosciences to plant pharmaceutical rice in southern California.

Farmers, consumers and even groups in Japan, California's largest rice export
market, barraged the CDFA office with an overwhelming flood of comments against the
CRC's recommendation to fast track the normal approval process.

The Japan Rice Retailers Association stated in a letter to the CRC:

"From the viewpoint of rice wholesalers and retailers in Japan, it is certain that
the commercialization of GM rice in the US will evoke a distrust of the US rice as a
whole among Japanese consumers, since we think that it is practically impossible to
guarantee no GM rice contamination in non-GM US rice. As you know, most Japanese
consumers react quite negatively to GM crops.

If the GM rice is actually commercialized in the US we shall strongly request the
Japanese government to take necessary measures not to import any Californian rice to
Japan."

Citing lack of public input and a lack of federal permits, the CDFA turned down the
plan and sent it back to the CRC.

With your help, commitment and dedication, Ventria's pharmaceutical rice has been
shelved. The decision is a major victory for California agriculture and is an
exciting step in a sustainable direction. This achievement joins a growing list of
victories in our fight against genetically engineered agriculture in California and
beyond. Congratulations… and THANK YOU!
 

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