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Rice industry in crisis

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> Greenpeace Report, january 2007

Major rice markets close doors to genetically engineered rice after contamination of the global food supply chain.

In 2006 a series of scandals erupted as world rice supplies were discovered to be contaminated with unapproved genetically engineered (GE) rice varieties. Field trials of GE rice in the US and the illegal sale of rice seed in China led to unapproved GE rice entering global food supply chains. Contaminated food stocks were found and pulled from shelves in European stores. Widespread bans on US-produced rice were enacted.

As a result, farmers, millers, traders and retailers around the globe are facing massive financial costs, including testing and recall costs, cancelled orders, import bans, brand damage and consumer distrust - distrust that could last for years. The media described the events « as a biosafety time bomb ». The ongoing repercussions for the rice industry are substantial both in terms of financial impact and future trade agreements. In the words of USA Rice Producers Group Chairman Paul T. Combs, « the economic viability of all segments of the rice industry is in jeopardy ».

document de référence rédigé le : 1 January 2007

date of on-line publication : 12 February 2007

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