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[SANET-MG] God is behind gm rice contamination
Bayer Crop Science is a particularly silly company. They were allowed to
deem most of their report on LLRICE601 as being confidential business
information. There current claim that GOD did it is not entirely
credible. It would have made much more sense to claim that Satan sent
teams of imps from hell to oversea the GM pollution.
Firm Blames Farmers, 'Act of God' for Rice Contamination
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 22, 2006; A05
The company that created the experimental variety of genetically
engineered rice found this summer to have contaminated the U.S. rice
supply contends that rice farmers and an "act of God" are to blame for
the inadvertent release of the unapproved crop.
Those are among the assertions by Bayer CropScience of Research Triangle
Park, N.C., in response to a class-action lawsuit filed by hundreds of
farmers in Arkansas and Missouri.
The 30-page response offers the first clue to how the company plans to
defend itself against the 15 class-action lawsuits filed by farmers, who
allege that they stand to lose millions of dollars because of the
Lawyers for the farmers said they had expected the company to deny
responsibility, but were offended by its attempt to blame farmers. The
lawyers said their clients had no reason to suspect that the seeds they
were planting in recent years were contaminated by Bayer's unapproved
"The farmers are innocent victims," said Don Downing, a principal at
Gray, Ritter & Graham PC, the St. Louis firm that filed the largest
suit, in U.S. District Court in eastern Missouri.
Denying any culpability, the Bayer response variously blames the escape
of its gene-altered variety of long-grain race, LL601, on "unavoidable
circumstances which could not have been prevented by anyone"; "an act of
God"; and farmers' "own negligence, carelessness, and/or comparative fault."
Asked how farmers were at fault, Bayer spokesman Greg Coffey said the
company does not comment on pending litigation.
Bayer conducted field tests of LL601 from 1999 to 2001 in Louisiana,
then dropped the project without seeking government approval to market
it. This year, LL601 was found to be widespread in U.S. long-grain rice,
prompting Europe to cut off imports and throwing the rice futures market
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating how the variety
escaped from test plots into farmers' fields, where it was quietly
amplified for years until its discovery. The seeds and plants of LL601
look virtually identical to those of the popular conventional variety
with which they had become mixed, said Steve Linscombe, director of
Louisiana State University's rice research station in Crowley.
The day the contamination was announced in August, Bayer asked the
government to approve the variety. A decision is still pending.
Meanwhile, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of about 300 rice farmers
in the South.
The company's response to the largest of those suits asserts that
Bayer's test plots were in full compliance with Agriculture Department
rules. Critics of U.S. biotech regulations have said that, if true, that
only proves the inadequacy of those rules and calls into question
whether the department can fairly investigate the problem.
"It is unfortunate that Bayer, rather than accept responsibility for its
actions, is instead trying to pin the blame on the American rice
farmers, the very people most detrimentally affected by Bayer's conduct
here," said Adam Levitt, a Chicago lawyer who has filed five class-acti
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