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Attack of the mutant rice
Garrett's rice was genetically modified, part of an experiment that was brought to an abrupt halt by its sponsor, a North Carolina-based biotechnology company called Aventis Crop Science. The company had contracted with a handful of farmers to grow the rice, which was known as Liberty Link because its genes had been altered to resist a weed killer called Liberty, also made by Aventis.
But by 2001, Aventis Crop Science was living a biotech nightmare. Another one of its creations, a variety of genetically modified corn known as StarLink, had been discovered in taco shells made by Kraft. Because the StarLink corn had been approved as animal feed - and not for human consumption - all hell broke loose. [It also turned up in USDA Food Aid shipped overseas and to Mexico]
In January 2006, small amounts of genetically engineered rice turned up in a shipment that was tested - we don't know why - by a French customer of Riceland Foods, a big rice mill based in Stuttgart, Ark. Because no transgenic rice is grown commercially in the U.S., the people at Riceland were stunned.
Trace amounts of the Liberty Link had mysteriously made their way into the commercial rice supply in all five of the Southern states where long-grain rice is grown: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. Bayer and Riceland then informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced the contamination last August.....