Chemical and pharmaceutical German multinational Bayer has given up GE rice in Brazil.
After 8 years of trying to obtain an authorization and to convince in vain rice farmers, Bayer CropScience has withdrew it request for authorization for genetically engineered (GE) rice (LL62) tolerant to the Liberty Link herbicide sold by the company. It is worth reminding that herbicides tolerant GE crops enable companies that sell the herbicide, a greater control on the market and farmers.
The Federation of the Rice Farmers of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul had clearly said NO to GE rice! This state produces 60 % of the total brazilian rice production. The global rice industry has also rejected GE rice
Behind the withdrawal of Bayer in Brazil, there is also the law suits in the United States against Bayer CropScience for the dissemination of an experimental and illegal GE rice (LL601) in 2006 that disrupted the global rice market and reduced US rice exports. Greenpeace has estimated the economic costs of these disruptions at $1,285 milions. Bayer CropScience invoqued an act of God as an excuse!
Although less spectacular and visible that the tragedy of the BP oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the genetic contamination of the food supply and crops is underhanded. Even Budweiser beer drinkers were affected without knowing it!
And in Canada?
Contrary to most countries importing rice from the US, Canada failed to put in place strict and rapid measures to prevent contamination in Canada by this illigal LL601 GE rice. For exemple, while India adopted 0,01% threshold for detection, the Canadian government put the bar 50 times higher like if it didn’t want to find any contamination. It was Greenpeace that, once more time, had to do testing to prove that the illegal Bayer’s LL601 GE rice was sold in Canadian food supermarkets like Loblaws and Overwaitea.
At the time, Greenpeace also wrote to the rice distributors in Canada to urge them to take adequate measures.
In conclusion, the good news from Brazil shows that we can win against giants like Bayer or Monsanto. Yes resistance can be fertile!
Read more on the Greenpeace International blog
Read the Greenpeace Press release in Portuguese