US mulls backing 'medicine rice'
Authorities in the United States have given preliminary approval to a plan to grow rice genetically modified to produce human proteins.
Rice plants including human genes involved in producing breast milk would be grown in the state of Kansas.
The company behind the proposal, Ventria Bioscience, says the plants could be developed into medicines for diarrhoea and dehydration in infants.
Critics say parts of the rice plants could enter the food chain.
Under the proposal, which received preliminary backing from the US Department of Agriculture last week, Ventria would plant rice over some 3,000 acres (1,215 ha) of farmland in the mid-western state.
The company said it would take precautions to ensure the seeds did not mix with other crops.
'Dealing with an unknown'
But critics say that bad weather such as high winds or human error could lead to problems.
"I'm really concerned about this, because I think firstly there is this potential for this rice to get into the food supply, and secondly, it hasn't been tested," said Bill Freese of the US Center for Food Safety.
"It hasn't gone through a drug review process. So we're dealing with an unknown here - something that could cause harm to human health."
With controversy growing, the US Department of Agriculture has yet to give final approval, says the BBC's James Westhead in Washington.
And even then, our correspondent adds, there are huge regulatory hurdles before food containing human DNA could actually be sold to consumers.
The public has until the end of March to submit objections to the plan, the Associated Press news agency reported. If final permission is given, Ventria will begin planting rice in April or May, company president Scott Deeter said.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/06 10:27:18 GMT
© BBC MMVII
I'd get on your computers and write to the USDA if I were you... This is bad, bad, bad... The USDA has already fast tracked the approval of GM grasses that they were not going to allow based on preliminary testing after it was discovered that the test fields contaminated adjacent national grasslands. Irresponsible and reckless... They have no idea what this rice could do to people because no one has tested it, but in the mean time, the open fields it's grown in could contaminate the food supply and no one would know about it until long after the fact, long after we've all eaten it. If they want to grow GM things like this, it should be in enclosed hydroponics labs where there are security measures in place to ensure that no fertile pollen or seeds escape to contaminate the food supply. Why would that be so difficult for them to do? We're talking technology that already exists - hydroponics - and it's the kind of thing responsible people should do to protect the health of the general public. Simple, or it should be...
Just released on NoNais.org is the news that Australia is implementing a plan to tax livestock owners based on their own manditory version of NAIS. Now that their program is fully implemented, on top of the cost of fees, tags, testing, etc, the government of Australia now wants to add an additional tax to pay for "emergencies" caused by "exotic" disease outbreaks... Yeah, right... That's why... The big "What if?" Suuuuurrrrreee... This is BS and we all know it... The government of Australia sees something else that they can tax and they've found their excuse in fear and they're doing it because they can. Sickening. Don't think for even half a second that the US government won't do the *exact* same thing if they get their wish that NAIS becomes manditory... They will. And it will get even harder for small farmers to make a living.
More about Australia's new tax:
Taxing small landholders:
the only way to protect livestock
The Cooma Rural Lands Protection Board is defending a decision to rate small landholders, saying it is the only way to protect livestock producers from exotic diseases.
Rates were previously only charged for holdings of 10 hectares or more but that has now been reduced to four hectares.
Board chairman Barry Bridges is dismissing objections from some small landholders who accuse the board of a cash grab.
“They do receive benefit whether they think they do or not … they will be looked after if we get an exotic disease outbreak,” Mr Bridges said.
“Whether they are commercial or not doesn’t make any difference … I believe anybody who owns any animal should have to pay some sort of animal health levy to ensure the disease-free status of our country.”