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Q:
Biotech companies keep reassuring us that fields of GMO crops will not contaminate fields of non-GMO varieties. Could you please explain how rice fields in the Philippines were contaminated with Bayer LL601 GMO rice not approved for human consumption? Could you explain how Bayer Bt63 GM Rice, also not fit for human consumption, had contaminated US rice exported into Sweden? Is our rice supply already contaminated with unapproved GMOs here in the US? http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/News/news-stories/gmo-rice-contamination-found-i/ http://www.gmcontaminationregister.org/index.php?content=re_detail&gw_id=365&reg=cou.6&inc=0&con=0&cof=0&year=2011&handle2_page=
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A:Expert Answer

Bayer LL601 GMO rice is a genetically modified rice developed by Bayer and known as Liberty Link Rice 601 ("LLRICE60I"), which in 2006 was detected in samples taken from conventional long-grain rice grown in the USA. In 2008, certain rice stocks that were alleged to contain LLRICE601 in the Philippines were tested by the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and were found to be free of LLRICE601. 

Bt63 GM rice is genetically modified rice that has been developed in China without any contribution from or involvement by Bayer. In 2007, it was reported that Bt63 was found in rice noodles from China in Sweden during random checks. According to public records, Bt63 was reported to be found in very small amounts, contained and withdrawn. Although Bayer is aware of the Bt63 event, Bayer is not in a position to provide any comments on how this situation could have happened.

For the past several years, rice seed produced in the U.S. that is intended for commercial sale has undergone testing for the presence of genetically modified material. The most informed group that has knowledge of the details of this seed testing is the USA Rice Federation (http://www.usarice.com/). 

Bayer is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS), a global industry-coordinated organization that promotes the adoption of stewardship programs and quality management systems for the full biotech plant life cycle. The program focuses on responsible management of the technology to support regulatory compliance, achieve product integrity and assist in the prevention of trade disruptions. You can find information about ETS at this link: http://www.ExcellenceThroughStewardship.org.

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