The USA Rice Federation today released the results of voluntary testing of the 2009 rice crop for the presence of the genetically-engineered Liberty Link (LL) trait. All of the results were negative, indicating continued success of the U.S. rice industry’s Seed Plan to remove the LL601 trait from the commercial long-grain supply.

While only long-grain rice produced in the mid-South was affected by LL601, California’s 2009 rice crop — comprised of nearly 100-percent short- and medium-grain varieties — also tested negative. (Results of the California testing are available via the California Rice Commission.

“We are extremely pleased with the 2009 test results,” USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward said. “These results show the industry’s commitment to producing rice that meets consumer demand and regulatory requirements.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the presence of the LL601 trait in the commercial long-grain U.S. rice supply on Aug. 18, 2006. At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that there were no human or animal health threats connected with the LL601 trait, and the trait was deregulated by USDA in November of that year.

Substantial trade disruption resulted, especially in long-grain markets like the European Union. Exports of U.S. rice were either stopped or testing requirements were placed on U.S.-grown rice by regulators in many important import markets.

Voluntary testing of each rice crop at harvest began in 2006 as part of the Seed Plan. This testing complements mandatory testing of seed before each planting season in rice states via an industry-wide effort to remove as much as possible the LL601 trait.

Ward will present the test results, which are available on the USA Rice Web site, during this week’s joint meetings of the Louisiana Rice Growers Association and the Louisiana Rice Council as well as the joint Arkansas Rice Council and Arkansas Rice Producers’ Group meetings.