1.GE rice industry facing meltdown as global tide of rejection grows - Greenpeace
2.Re: GM RICE INDUSTRY FACING MELTDOWN - FoE
3.Bayer defends genetic contamination as 'Act of God' - Greenpeace
1.GE rice industry facing meltdown as global tide of rejection grows
Bayer, global pusher of GE rice must admit defeat, says Greenpeace
GREENPEACE PRESS RELEASE
International 6 February 2007 - - The global rejection of genetically engineered rice is revealed today as 41 of the worlds biggest exporters, processors and retailers issued written commitments to stay GE free. The worldwide tide of opposition is contained in the new Greenpeace rice markets report.
The report 'Rice Industry in Crisis' carries extracts of company statements covering Asia, Europe, Australia, and North and South America. (1) and includes a commitment from the worlds largest rice processor, Ebro Puleva, to stop buying US rice. This follows a major contamination incident in 2006, when the world's rice supply was contaminated with an experimental and illegal variety of GE rice produced by biotech company Bayer.
'Bayer is aggressively pursuing commercial approvals for its GE rice globally, including in Europe and Brazil, yet refuses to accept responsibility for the major financial damage its unauthorised GE rice has caused in the US and elsewhere. Indeed, Bayer is blaming hardworking farmers or 'acts of God' for these problems when all signs point to Bayer being at fault,' (4) said Adam Levitt, a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz one of the law firms leading the prosecution of these cases against Bayer.
'This global contamination and global market rejection of GE rice clearly shows the need for Bayer to withdraw from any further GE rice development,' said Jeremy Tager, Greenpeace International rice campaigner. 'Bayer proves that GE rice is too risky. Through field trials alone Bayer caused massive financial damage to the global rice industry. The commercial growing of GE rice must never become a reality; the impact on the world's most important food crop would be disastrous.'
The report also examines the significant economic implications of the Bayer contamination, including when rice futures prices plummeted $150 million -- the sharpest one-day decline in years. Experts have predicted that US rice exports may decline by as much as16% in 2006/2007. (2) Several multi-million dollar class action lawsuits have been filed by US farmers who refuse to bear the financial burden of Bayer's irresponsible and negligent conduct. The farmers claim that Bayer is responsible for the contamination of rice supplies and the economic losses the U.S. rice farmers have suffered as a result and must compensate farmers for the monetary and other losses that they have sustained as a result of Bayers improper conduct. (3)
In addition to the class action lawsuits, several individual lawsuits have also been filed and there are also anecdotal reports that European traders contemplating legal action. As a result of the contamination of the rice supply with Baye's GE rice farmers, millers, traders and retailers around the globe are facing massive financial costs, including testing and recall costs, cancelled orders, import bans, brand damage and consumer distrust distrust that could last for years.
'Governments from around the world must respond to the economic, market and environmental damage caused by the 2006 GE rice contamination and reject outright any GE rice food and cultivation applications currently on the table,' said Tager. 'GE rice should not be developed as genetic engineering is an unnecessary, unwanted and outdated technology that threatens the worlds most important staple food.'
Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and food production grounded on the principles of sustainability, protection of biodiversity and providing all people access to safe and nutritious food. Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity and poses unacceptable risks to health.
For more information and interviews
Jeremy Tager, Greenpeace International GE campaigner, +31 6 4622 1185
Adam Levitt, partner, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLC, 312-984-0000, U.S. lawyer representing rice farmers in U.S.-based class action litigation against Bayer
Namrata Chowdhary, Greenpeace International communications officer +31 6 4619 7327
Notes to editors
(1) Company statements received from the following countries: Japan, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Thailand, India, Brazil, Spain, Canada and the UK. For statements see pages 7 12 of the Rice markets report: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/rice-industry-in-crisis/
(2) Elias P. 2006. California growers fear biotech rice threat. Washington Post. 15 October, 2006.
(3) Weiss, R. 2006. Firm Blames Farmers, Act of God for Rice Contamination. Washington Post. 22 November, 2006.
Leonard, C. 2006. 13 Lawsuits Over Accidental Spread of Genetically Altered Rice Could Be Combined Into 1. Associated Press. 30, November, 2006.
(4) Countries in which Bayer CropScience has applied for authorization for cultivation or food/feed consumption. All approvals are for LL62 unless otherwise noted.
1. Australia food and feed. Applied 2006
2. Brazil cultivation, food and feed, seed import, additional field trials. Applied 2006
3. Canada approval granted for food and feed 2006
4. European Union (25 states) food and feed. Applied 2004
5. New Zealand food and feed. Applied 2006
6. Philippines food and feed. Applied 2006
7. South Africa food and feed. Applied 2006
8. United States approvals granted for cultivation, food and feed. Approvals LL601, 62, 06 (2006, 2002)
2.Re: GM RICE INDUSTRY FACING MELTDOWN AS GLOBAL TIDE OF REJECTION GROWS
Friends of the Earth UK
Immediate release: Tuesday 6 February 2007
A new report revealing the global market rejection of GM rice is published today by Greenpeace. This follows the contamination incident where illegal GM rice, grown experimentally in the US, has contaminated long grain rice in the UK and around the world. Below is a press release which also notes the legal actions farmers in the US are taking against biotech company Bayer to compensate for financial losses.
In the UK, Friends of the Earth is legally challenging the Food Standards Agency in a case to be heard in the High Court on 20 and 21 February. The Environment group believes that the FSA failed to take the necessary steps to protect consumers from being exposed to illegal GM rice.
Friends of the Earth's GM Campaigner, Clare Oxborrow said
'This contamination incident highlights the weaknesses in the regulation of GM crops and foods in the UK and around the world. Biotech company Bayer should be held liable for damages and financial losses caused by its experimental crop contaminating world food supplies. Instead hard hit rice farmers have no choice but to seek compensation through the courts.'
'In the UK, the Food Standards Agency is responsible for protecting the public from food contamination incidents, yet it has failed to act to stop the illegal GM rice being sold to the British public. Friends of the Earth has resorted to legal action to force the FSA to comply with the law, and put consumers' interests over those of the food industry.'
3.Bayer defends genetic contamination as 'Act of God'
06 February 2007
You might blame the dog for eating your homework, or a traffic jam for being late to work. But if you ever find yourself facing a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit for contaminating the world's number one food crop with an unapproved genetically engineered variety, just do what biotech company Bayer does. Blame God!
Yes folks it seems that according to Bayer, God hasn't been dealing with the big issues lately. Instead of answering millions of prayers, stopping wars or ending famines, God has left all the important things to gather dust in the heavenly inbox whilst ensuring Bayer's unapproved variety of genetically engineered (GE) rice goes forth and multiplies around the world instead.
According to documents submitted to the court by Bayer, last year's massive contamination of US rice with an unapproved, experimental variety of rice called LL601 was due to 'acts of God' or the rice farmers themselves.
Pushing the blame onto the rice farmers is no surprise as the farmers are the ones suing Bayer for millions of dollars of lost income. The price of US rice plummeted last year, immediately following the discovery of the GE contamination in rice exported to Europe and Japan, where consumer resistance to Bayer's less-than-divine intervention in their food is strong.
The LL601 rice was originally grown as an experimental field trial all the way back in 1999-2001. The trial ended with no approval for growing the strain commercially.
That should have been the end of LL601 for good. But five years later, testing of US rice imports across Europe and Japan showed the experimental LL601 very much alive and contaminating.
'Bayer is aggressively pursuing commercial approvals for its GE rice globally, including in Europe and Brazil, yet refuses to accept responsibility for the major financial damage its unauthorised GE rice has caused in the US and elsewhere.'
'Indeed, Bayer is blaming hardworking farmers or 'acts of God' for these problems when all signs point to Bayer being at fault,' said Adam Levitt, a partner in the law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz - one of the law firms leading the prosecution of these cases against Bayer.
Shifting the blame isn't new for big business trying to avoid responsibility for their mistakes. But God as scapegoat? That's probably a new low in the GE industry's pursuit of the almighty dollar.
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