Japan has suspected US long-grain rice imports after supplies were found to contain a genetically engineered variety that is unapproved for sale. This discovery has sent rice prices tumbling.
'Trace amounts' of the experimental rice variety were detected in US commercial supplies by the German company Bayer CropScience.
Bayer then notified US officials about the positive test. However, rice farmers from Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California have filed a lawsuit in a District Court at Little Rock, eastern Arkansas, over the finding, also alleging lack of domestic oversight.
The genetically engineered rice variety , LLRICE 601, possesses bacterial DNA that makes the rice plants resistant to a weedkiller. The stain is not approved for sale in the US, but two other strains of rice with the same genetically engineered protein are.
The majority of US rice imported by Japan is short-grain and medium-grain. These are unaffected by the ban.