Arkansas Farmers Sue over Genetically Modified Rice - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

Arkansas Farmers Sue over Genetically Modified Rice

AUGUST 29, 2006 - Posted at 7:27 a.m. CDT

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorneys representing rice growers have filed two class-action lawsuits against Bayer CropScience LP, accusing the company of negligence after trace amounts of an unapproved, genetically engineered rice was found in long-grain rice in Arkansas and Missouri.

The lawsuits were filed yesterday in federal court in Little Rock, and attorneys say they represent rice growers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Attorneys representing 20 rice farmers say they will file a similar suit today against Bayer and Riceland Foods Incorporated of Stuttgart.  Arkanasas produces nearly half of the country's rice supply.

One lawsuit, filed by Lonnie and Linda Parson of Searcy, has been assigned to Judge Leon Holmes.  A second case, filed by Geeridge Farm Incorporated of Humnoke and George W. Watson of Earle has been assigned to Judge George Howard, Jr.  Neither of the cases have been certified as class-action yet.

Both lawsuits center on a strain of rice that was tested by Bayer between 1998 and 2001.  That strain contains a gene that makes the rice resistant to the herbicide Liberty.

Federal officials have said the genetically engineered rice poses no health or food safety risks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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