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Greenpeace Protests GM RiceGreenpeace Protests GM Rice

October 15, 2001

2 Min Read
Greenpeace Protests GM Rice

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Greenpeace Protests GM Rice

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Greenpeace activists and media representatives gathered at Applied Phytologics' (AP) Sutter County rice fields to protest field trials on genetically modified (GM) rice. The rice is being genetically modified to produce lactoferrin and lysozyme (human proteins) with the eventual goal of extract applications in the dietary supplement, food and feed additive, biomedical and pharmaceutical industries.In opposition to the company's field trails, Greenpeace delivered a letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture asking the department to remove the testing fields and revoke the company's permits for testing GM crops. Both the California Rice Commission and the Farmers' Rice Cooperative adopted policies to segregate GM and non-GM rice. "Finding animal feed in our corn was bad enough, but now we may have to worry about unknown drugs in our rice," said Jeanne Merrill, a Greenpeace GM campaigner. "Obviously, we respect [the protesters'] right to voice their opinion," said Frank Hagie, Jr., Esq., president and chief executive officer of AP. "With respect to the field trials themselves, we work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which communicates with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. USDA issued our permit for this to go forward." The GM grains, specifically rice, wheat and barley, are undergoing field trials as part of an R&D program and will not be available for use for several years. "Our lead product with these molecules is a supplement for animal feed that would allow us to get efficient production of barnyard animals without the use of antibiotics," Hagie said. Other uses envisioned by the AP team are to incorporate its GM grain extracts into infant formula, as lactoferrin and lysozyme are key elements in breast milk."We envision selling a processed product that will be clearly identified as containing these molecules, and consumers will be able to choose whether they want it," said Todd Stoltz, director of regulatory affairs for AP.

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