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Date:

May 22, 2001

Subject:

AGBIOWORLD TO WITHDRAW AVENTIS PETITION

 

AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org

http://www.agbioworld.org/aventispetition.html
<http://www.agbioworld.org/aventispetition.html>

AGBIOWORLD TO WITHDRAW AVENTIS PETITION

Friends,

The AgBioWorld Foundation would like to thank the hundreds of people who
signed a petition appealing to Aventis to donate 5 million pounds of
experimental rice to the needy rather than destroy it.

However, it has been brought to our attention that Aventis had no choice
in the matter. While the FDA has given approval for this rice, and the
USDA has granted it deregulated status, the EPA has not yet done so. Thus,
the rice has not yet been approved for commercialization and cannot be
sold or given away in the US or abroad.

We at the AgBioWorld Foundation are sorry about the misunderstanding and
would like to express our apologies to Aventis. However, at the same time
we would convey our disapproval of those who, in the past, have used
situations similar to this one to block APPROVED food aid to victims of
cyclones, floods and other disasters in order to further their own
political (namely, anti-biotechnology) agendas.

Sincerely,

C.S. Prakash
phone: (334) 727-8023
cell phone: (334) 663-1511
prakash@tusk.edu

p.s. Below are statements from Aventis and the Biotechnology Industry
Organization.
not yet been commercialized. To date, the Rice has been approved by
the Food and Drug Administration for food and feed use in the US and has
been granted deregulated status by the US Department of Agriculture.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet approved
the use of Liberty(tm) Herbicide on this Rice.

According to the existing Experimental Use Permits granted by the EPA,
Aventis CropScience must ensure that LibertyLink Rice is destroyed or
stored in such a way to prevent its use until the EPA grants the final
approval. Aventis CropScience has chosen to destroy this production in
accordance with its normal policy.

Recent discussions in the press have suggested that this Rice might be
used to feed hungry people in the US or overseas. While it is
understandable that many would like to share the abundant food of the
United States with others in need, this Rice is not suitable for such a
purpose. All clearances must be in place before this Rice could be used
in the US. Additional international clearances would be necessary before
this Rice could be exported.

Aventis CropScience is sympathetic to the humanitarian intentions
underlying suggestions that this Rice might be put to other uses. Aventis
CropScience works hard to ensure that US farmers can grow abundant,
nutritious crops and we hope that by contributing to that abundance all
mankind will prosper. However, as a routine part of our development
process we must destroy certain crops to ensure the health and safety of
the food supply. We would hope that the public would understand that
safety must be our first priority.

Best Regards
Margaret Gadsby
Director, Public Affairs -- Biotechnology
North America

Aventis CropScience
2 T.W. Alexander Dr.
Research Triangle Park, NC
27709

phone: (919)549-2233
fax: (919)549-2545
margaret.gadsby@aventis.com
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 14:22:34 -0400
From: Lisa Dry
Subject: AVENTIS HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO DESTROY THE RICE

Dr. Prakash & Friends,

I think the Houston Chronicle article has done a serious disservice to
Aventis CropScience and persons with good intentions have unwittingly
perpetuated this unfortunate situation. The newspaper article contained
several inaccuracies, chief being that Aventis CropScience had any choice
but to destroy the LibertyLink Rice under discussion -- why? Because it is
still under development in the US and has not been commercialized.

Yes, the rice has been approved by the FDA and granted deregulated status
by the USDA, but the rice was being grown under Experimental Use Permits
granted by EPA, and Aventis, operating under these federal requirements,
must prevent the use of the rice until such undetermined time that EPA
grants final approval. This is normal policy for Aventis and in line with
standard industry and corporate practices. It is indeed unfortunate that
there are needy people who could benefit from donated rice, but in this
instance US regulations dictate that the LibertyLink Rice cannot be
directed to human use either in the US or overseas at this time.

I hope this information is helpful and can help calm some of the internet
outrage we've seen in recent days.

Best regards,
Lisa Dry
Communications Director
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Washington, DC
ldry@BIO.ORG