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genetic engineering

CA may approve pharma rice - take action

On March 29th, the California Rice Commission gave their approval for the planting and milling of two genetically engineered drug-producing rice varieties spliced with synthetic human genes. This will be the first commercial pharmaceutical food crop in the world and could be planted anywhere in the state.

The Food and Drug Administration has established a zero tolerance for pharmaceutical crop products in food and animal feed. Contamination of the food supply with this rice is inevitable!

This "pharm" rice is produced by Ventria Biosciences, a Sacramento-based company. Ventria's rice has been genetically engineered by inserting human genes, and it produces drugs for infant formula and as antibiotic substitutes in poultry feed.

These rice varieties have not yet received federal approval for marketing as drugs, and have not been approved for human or animal consumption by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government has not evaluated their safety for humans or the environment.

Final approval for this Pharmaceutical Rice must still be granted by The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). CDFA may be making a decision at any time.

Send an email to the CDFA Secretary, A.G. Kawamura encouraging him to delay approval of the Ventria's rice until this rice has been approved for human consumption and at the very least to allow for public input during the decision making process.

You can send an email directly at http://www.thecampaign.org/california.php

Or cut and paste the sample comments below and send to : secretary@cdfa.ca.gov

You can also call the CDFA at 916-654-0433



Dear Secretary Kawamura,

I am writing to express my concern about the recent recommendation of the California Rice Commission to approve a protocol for the Ventria Biosciences pharmaceutical rice varieties.

This pharmaceutical rice has not been approved for human consumption by the federal government. Until approval is obtained by Ventria, no certification for commercial production in California should be granted.

The protocol allows for the planting of research crops anywhere in the state and the transportation of milled pharmaceutical rice from the restricted growing area in Southern California to any other region of California. This and other potential sources of contamination present great danger to the purity and reputation of California rice. Even a small risk of contamination is too great, and will not be tolerated by consumers or foreign markets. The California rice industry cannot afford contamination, or the risk of contamination from this rice.

I urge you to weigh these considerations carefully before you make a decision on the recommendation of the Rice Commission. I also strongly urge that you convene a public input process to hear from the wide range of people and organizations in California that have knowledge, concerns and information to incorporate in your decision.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.


homepage: homepage: http://www.nwrage.org
phone: phone: 503-239-6841