More Prakash high farce in the rush to feed any kind of transgenic food, no matter how untested/unapproved whatever, to anyone. Shame it's about a real problem.
The AgBioWorld Foundation would like to thank the hundreds of people who signed a petition appealing to Aventis to donate 5 million pounds of experimental rice to the needy rather than destroy it. However, it has been brought to our attention that Aventis had no choice in the matter. While the FDA has given approval for this rice, and the USDA has granted it deregulated status, the EPA has not yet done so. Thus, the rice has not yet been approved for commercialization and cannot be sold or given away in the US or abroad.
We at the AgBioWorld Foundation are sorry about the misunderstanding and would like to express our apologies to Aventis. However, at the same time we would convey our disapproval of those who, in the past, have used situations similar to this one to block APPROVED food aid to victims of cyclones, floods and other disasters in order to further their own political (namely, anti-biotechnology) agendas.
phone: (334) 727-8023
cell phone: (334) 663-1511
p.s. Below are statements from Aventis and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 15:30:48 -0400
Subject: Aventis CropScience's Responsibilities Regarding LibertyLink Rice
Dear Dr. Prakash:
LibertyLink(tm) Rice is still under development in the United States and has not yet been commercialized. To date, the Rice has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for food and feed use in the US and has been granted deregulated status by the US Department of Agriculture. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet approved the use of Liberty(tm) Herbicide on this Rice.
According to the existing Experimental Use Permits granted by the EPA, Aventis CropScience must ensure that LibertyLink Rice is destroyed or stored in such a way to prevent its use until the EPA grants the final approval. Aventis CropScience has chosen to destroy this production in accordance with its normal policy.
Recent discussions in the press have suggested that this Rice might be used to feed hungry people in the US or overseas. While it is understandable that many would like to share the abundant food of the United States with others in need, this Rice is not suitable for such a purpose. All clearances must be in place before this Rice could be used in the US. Additional international clearances would be necessary before this Rice could be exported.
Aventis CropScience is sympathetic to the humanitarian intentions underlying suggestions that this Rice might be put to other uses. Aventis CropScience works hard to ensure that US farmers can grow abundant, nutritious crops and we hope that by contributing to that abundance all mankind will prosper. However, as a routine part of our development process we must destroy certain crops to ensure the health and safety of the food supply. We would hope that the public would understand that safety must be our first priority.
Director, Public Affairs -- Biotechnology
2 T.W. Alexander Dr. Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
phone: (919)549-2233 fax: (919)549-2545
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 14:22:34 -0400
Subject: AVENTIS HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO DESTROY THE RICE
Dr. Prakash & Friends,
I think the Houston Chronicle article has done a serious disservice to Aventis CropScience and persons with good intentions have unwittingly perpetuated this unfortunate situation. The newspaper article contained several inaccuracies, chief being that Aventis CropScience had any choice but to destroy the LibertyLink Rice under discussion -- why? Because it is still under development in the US and has not been commercialized.
Yes, the rice has been approved by the FDA and granted deregulated status by the USDA, but the rice was being grown under Experimental Use Permits granted by EPA, and Aventis, operating under these federal requirements, must prevent the use of the rice until such undetermined time that EPA grants final approval. This is normal policy for Aventis and in line with standard industry and corporate practices. It is indeed unfortunate that there are needy people who could benefit from donated rice, but in this instance US regulations dictate that the LibertyLink Rice cannot be directed to human use either in the US or overseas at this time.
I hope this information is helpful and can help calm some of the internet outrage we've seen in recent days.
Biotechnology Industry Organization