Friday, November 03, 2006
US Rice Industry Adopts Plan to Save 2007 Crop
The US rice industry has adopted a plan to eliminate the illegal Liberal Link strains from the 2007 crop.
Discovery of the two contaminating strains in US imports, LLRICE601 and LLRICE62, have led the EU to decide upon mandatory testing of all US rice coming into Europe, with significant implications for the US rice industry. Farmers in the US are taking Bayer, the proprietor of the strains, to court for damage to their markets (a full list of Patenting Lives posts on this issue is available here).
The USA Rice Federation sought legal counsel following the August announcement of the contamination, and engaged King & Spalding in assessing its position. A USA Rice paper setting out the legal position of USA Rice suggests that the Federation does not have legal standing for a class action. However, it also indicates that "aggressive legal action" by individual and similarly situated members is not ruled out.
Earlier this month, the USA Rice Federation issued a press release in which Al Montna, Chairman of the USA Rice Federation and California rice producer, described the decision on mandatory testing as "an unfortunate overreaction."
The USA Rice Federation Daily, 1 Nov 2006, reports that representatives at the two-day USA Rice Federation Conference on GE Elimination adopted a plan to begin immediate work on ridding the 2007 crop of the contaminating strains. Strategies include plans to certify negative test results, suspending planting of the 2007 Cheniere variety, and a decision by mills to purchase rice grown only from negative seed (or farm-saved seed that has tested negative).
The draft plan will be submitted to the USA Rice Executive Committee to be adopted this week.