Release the Genetically-Engineered Hounds!

File under oops:

Government of Canada Plant Biosafety Office

Genetically Engineered Rice Unintentionally Released in the United States

On August 18, 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that trace amounts of a line of genetically engineered rice (LLRICE601), developed by Bayer CropScience had been unintentionally released in long grain rice in the United States. This rice has been genetically-engineered to be tolerant to a herbicide. There is currently no evidence that LLRICE601 has been imported into Canada.

In advance of the announcement, the CFIA and Health Canada, in consultation with the USDA and Bayer CropScience, conducted preliminary assessments of the risks that this incident posed to Canadian food and feed and the environment. The assessments determined that it is unlikely that low levels of LLRICE601 pose a risk to human health, livestock or the environment.

LLRICE601 is genetically very similar to another type of genetically engineered rice ( LLRICE62) which has been thoroughly assessed and approved for feed and food use in both Canada and the US However, this line of rice is not used commercially in Canada and the US While there is currently no evidence that LLRICE601 has been imported into Canada, the Government of Canada continues to work with the USDA to actively gather information about the distribution of this product.

I particularly like the line “it is unlikely that low levels of LLRICE601 pose a risk to human health, livestock or the environment.” It’s also unlikely that any single person will win the lottery, but people win every day. This is a lottery that I for one do not want to win.

And what’s up with this genetically-engineered rice LLRICE62? How can I know if I’m unintentionally buying this franken-food? Time to write the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

How can I tell if the above genetically-engineered rice (LLRICE62) is included in the bag of rice that I buy in the grocery store?

I do not want genetically-engineered food of any kind in my home, my body, or the bodies of my family. How is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensuring my right to know about the food that I eat?

I look forward to your thoughtful reply.

Yours truly,

I’ll report back on their response.