24.9.06

GMO-Rice LL 601: How much in our food?

Currently, the press is full of reports about GMO-contaminated rice. For example, ABCNews reported on Sept 21st 2006, "EU chases GMO-tainted rice strain in four countries", the Economist speaks on September 16th 2006 about "Grains of doubt", Gretchen Vogel writes in Science, September 22nd 2006 about "Tracing the Transatlantic Spread of GM Rice", and the German Greenpeace website carries a long list of stories about where in the EU GMO rice has been found in rice sold to consumers. LL Rice 601 was developed by Aventis CropScience which was bought by Bayer but I could no find anything about the subject on Bayer's websites.

To stop "unauthorised GMO entering the EU" the EU Commission requires certification of US rice exports to the EU. Greenpeace EU called for the termination of all rice imports for the USA.

Strangely missing from all the reports is any indication of the quantities of LL Rice 601 found in the rice shipments from the USA. Some will say that this is irrelevant because of zero-content rules that are in place in Europe. Such rules may be fine for administrative reasons. As a consumer and believer in the heuristic that quantative information is superior to qualitative information, I would still like to know how much GMO has been found in the contaminated shipments. Even if GMO-traces would be a threat to consumers' health (and not only a threat to some consumers' state of mind), the quantity of GMO would most likely matter. It is unlikely that Paracelsus' dictum has lost its validity: "Alle Ding' sind Gift und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, das ein Ding kein Gift ist. " ("All things are poison and nothing (is) without poison; only the dose makes that a thing is no poison.")

RAEM