Rachel Iadicicco (301) 734-3255
Kristin Scuderi (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture is
seeking public comment on a petition to deregulate a rice genetically
engineered (GE) to be tolerant to herbicides marketed under the brand
name LibertyLink. In 1999, after thorough safety evaluations, USDA's
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) deregulated two
similar LibertyLink rice lines. Under petition, APHIS would extend its
deregulation from the original two lines to include the rice line known
as LLRICE601.

On Aug. 18, USDA announced that trace amounts of this regulated
GE rice were detected in samples taken from commercial long grain rice.
A review of the scientific data by USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration concluded that there were no human health, food safety or
environmental concerns associated with this GE rice.

The petition for deregulation, submitted by Bayer CropScience, is in
accordance with APHIS' regulations concerning the introduction of GE
organisms and products. APHIS has prepared a draft environmental
assessment (EA) for LLRICE601. The scientific evidence indicates there
are no environmental, human health or food safety concerns associated
with this GE rice.

Notice of this action is scheduled for publication in today's Federal
Register. USDA is seeking comment on the petition and invites comments
on the EA. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before
Oct. 10. Send an original and three copies of comments to Docket No.
APHIS-2006-0140, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS,
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.
Comments may be submitted via the Internet at
Comments are posted on the web site and may also be
viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence
Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday
through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment
reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

202 720-4623