Group opposes genetically modified rice by German company

The LLRice 62 (LL stands for Liberty Link) is a genetically modified rice variety developed by Bayer Crop Science, a German company based in the United States.

It has two other rice varieties – the LLRice 06 and LLRice 601, which are said to be both resistant to glufosinate-containing herbicides.

Agnes Lintao, policy maker of SEARICE, said in a press statement that the approval of the application of Bayer will allow the first genetically modified rice into the country and would thus set a precedent of the entry of other genetically modified rice in the Philippines.

“Allowing Bayer’s LLRice 62 into the country will completely alter the culture and traditions of the Filipino farmers, especially since we are talking about an important food crop that is synonymous to our country’s sovereignty,” Lintao said.

According to SEARICE, Bayer’s LLRice 601 has figured in so many controversies in the US and Europe, especially since it has not been approved for human consumption.

The SEARICE has noted that the more recent studies disclosed that the imported rice, the Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice, which is being sold in leading supermarkets in the country, is found to be contaminated with LLRice 601.

“This poses potential health risks to the general public, thus, the need to take extra precaution on the approval of LLRice 62,” said Lintao.

She urged consumers to better patronize locally and organically-produced rice.

The BPI of the Department of Agriculture is the regulating body in the country, which approves genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) for direct use, propagation, and commercialization.

Lintao stressed that the BPI should look beyond the promises that through genetic engineering, the world would be saved from hunger.

The BPI, she said, is mandated in evaluating the safety of genetic engineering crops being applied for approval. “But it should still consider and maintain a higher principle in the approval process. A single approval would signify a devastating impact to the country’s food supply in the long term,” said Lintao.