This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Opponents of genetically engineered crops say they worry about possible
dangers to health and the environment. Supporters of biotechnology say these
crops are safe and tested before governments approve them.
crops can accidentally reach market, although such incidents are believed to be
rare. American officials are now investigating a case involving rice from Bayer
CropScience of Germany.
The company tested the long-grain rice in fields in the
United States between 1998 and 2001. Bayer never tried to market the
So officials say they do not know how small amounts of it got into rice from
last year's crop.
Bayer reported its findings to the government on July 31 and
commented publicly on August 18. The company said it was cooperating
with the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week the Agriculture Department approved a test to find the rice in
shipments. But the two agencies say, based on the scientific information they
have, there are no public health or environmental concerns.
Still, Japan quickly suspended imports of American long-grain rice. Japan
mostly imports short- and medium-grain rice from the United States anyway.
Also, the European Union will now require imports of American rice to come
with statements saying they are free of the unapproved rice. This requirement
will stay for at least six months.
The rice was found in Arkansas and Missouri, mixed in
with supplies from several states. Riceland Foods, a big marketer in Arkansas,
said one of its export buyers discovered the unapproved rice in January. It says
tests showed that the amounts were very small, about six kernels
in 10,000 kernels of
The rice contains a protein, called Liberty Link, genetically engineered to
resist damage from Bayer's Liberty herbicide. The chemical is used to kill weeds
around crop plants.
Two other kinds of rice with the same protein have been approved in the
United States, although Bayer has not marketed them. But the protein is used in
About half of the American rice crop is exported. And about eighty percent of
exports are long-grain rice. The government estimates this year's rice crop at
almost two thousand million dollars.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Mario
Ritter . I'm Doug Johnson.
kernel : 谷粒（a kernel of wheat