The Japanese have stopped importing U.S.-grown rice. Why? Because some rice in this country has trace quantities of genetically engineered materials. None of these materials is approved for human consumption. Yet that same rice is still sold in the U.S. And we still buy and eat it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered this contamination eight months ago. However, it has no plans to recall or destroy the rice. Even though it's illegal to market it to humans!
In the past, the USDA has done the right thing. Back in 2000, for example, hundreds of people got sick from eating genetically engineered corn (StarLink). So the USDA ordered farmers to destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of corn. They even ordered manufacturers to recall hundreds of products that use StarLink corn.
Not so with this contaminated rice, it appears. No one knows whether or not it will cause any illnesses. But it's still on the shelves waiting for you to buy and eat it.
The good news is that not all rice is contaminated, only long-grain rice. If you're a fan of rice, just buy either medium- or short-grain varieties. That's what the Japanese have decided to do.
Experts estimate that around 70% of processed foods on the shelves of grocery stores contain genetically altered ingredients. We can't escape them entirely, but we can do something about it. Buy organic foods whenever possible.
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There's something else you can do. The USDA is listening to any comments from the public on the subject of this inadequately tested rice through October 10. If you'd like Bayer, the company that produced this genetically altered rice, to be accountable for its safety, or if you have any other comments either pro or con, contact the USDA through The Center for Food Safety at http://ga3.org/campaign/LLRice.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Tady, M. "Biotech firm, govt hid rice contamination from public," www.newstandardnews.net, August 24, 2006.