California Company Gives up on Growing Controversial Ventria Rice in Bootheel

APRIL 29, 2005 - Posted at 7:53 a.m. CDT

WASHINGTON - A California company gives up on growing genetically modified rice in southeast Missouri this year.

Ventrial Bioscience says it would have to plant the rice by May 20, and it's unlikely to get a federal permit in time.

Sacramento-based Ventria wants to grow rice enhanced with human genes to produce certain proteins.  The rice would be used in medicines to fight dehydration and other illnesses.

But plans for growing 200 acres of the rice in southeast Missouri ran into trouble.  Anheuser-Busch worried the crop would contaminate edible rice growing nearby.

Ventria agreed to find a more isolated site for the engineered rice.  That means getting a new federal permit.

Ventria president Scott Deeter says the company remains committed to growing the rice in Missouri, where it plans to move its headquarters.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)