Greenpeace Exposes Anheuser Busch’s Use of Genetically Engineered Rice in Beer Brewing Process

July 6, 2010

Greenpeace released the results of analyses showing the presence of an experimental genetically engineered (GE) strain of rice at an Anheuser-Busch operated mill in Arkansas that is used to brew Budweiser. An independent laboratory test, commissioned by Greenpeace, detected the presence of GE rice (Bayer LL601) in three out of four samples taken at the mill.

Bayer LL601 rice was the source of the 2006 contamination of at
least 30 percent of rice stocks in the United States. The GE
contamination had a massive negative economic impact on the U.S.
rice industry as many countries subsequently stopped or
significantly restricted the import of U.S. rice.  

“Anheuser-Busch must make a clear statement about the level of
GE contamination of the rice used to brew Budweiser in the U.S. and
spell out what measures are in place to ensure this beer does not
reach the company’s export markets,” said Doreen Stabinsky,
Greenpeace agriculture campaigner.

“U.S. beer drinkers need Anheuser-Busch to explain why it is not
preventing use of this genetically engineered rice in the U.S. If,
as the company has informed Greenpeace, all of the Budweiser
exported from the U.S. or manufactured outside of the U.S. does not
contain genetically engineered rice, then Anheuser-Busch needs to
state this publicly, and explain the double standard,” added

Greenpeace informed Anheuser-Busch of the test results prior to
their release and sought clear information from the company on the
extent of contamination and its global policy on the use of GE
ingredients. Anheuser-Busch responded that the rice is approved for
use in the U.S. and is not used in brewing Budweiser destined for
export. The full extent of the contamination remains unclear.

The rice strain in question, Bayer LL601 rice, was retroactively
granted approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an
effort to reduce public concern and company liability, despite
15,000 public objections. The European Food Safety Authority,
however, stated that there was insufficient data to make a finding
of safety.  Greenpeace believes that U.S. consumers have a right to
know if GE-contaminated rice is used to make Budweiser. Last
Friday, the USDA released inconclusive results of a 14-month, 8,500
staff hour study into the contamination incident, providing little
insight into how the contamination occurred, and showing no
evidence that regulators or industry have any idea how to prevent
future contamination scandals.

Anheuser-Busch is the largest single rice buyer in the US,
buying six to ten percent of the annual U.S. rice crop, and is one
of only a few beer producers that use rice as an ingredient. The
brand is found in approximately 60 countries through a mix of
exports and local brewing arrangements.

 “Anheuser-Busch should make a global commitment to produce all
of its beer without GE ingredients. Anything less will leave a bad
taste in the mouth of Budweiser drinkers,” concluded Stabinsky.

VVPR info: [email protected]

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