The disclosure last month that American long-grain rice has become widely contaminated with traces of an experimental, gene-altered rice has, according to this story, provoked an economic crisis for farmers and reignited a long-smoldering debate over the adequacy of U.S. oversight of biotech food.
Already, Japan has banned U.S. long-grain imports, noting, as have other countries, that the genetically altered variety never passed regulatory muster. Stores in Germany, Switzerland and France have pulled American rice off their shelves. And at least one ship last week remained quarantined in Rotterdam, awaiting word of whether its contents would be diverted or destroyed.
Greg Yielding, executive director of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association, was quoted as saying, “Until this happened, it looked like rice farmers were finally going to make a profit this year.”
Instead, U.S. rice prices have slumped about 10 percent…