U.S. bio firm plans factory for processing genetically engineered rice in Kansas

A California company that has been criticized for its genetically engineered rice is planning to open a processing plant here and contract with area farmers to grow the crop.

State and local officials have embraced Ventria Bioscience's project, and they and the Sacramento, California-based firm's leader are touting it as a major boost to Kansas' emerging biosciences industry.

Ventria plans to use the genetically altered rice it grows for manufacturing medicine, including one developed to fight childhood diarrhea, a leading cause of death for infants and toddlers worldwide.

The company's critics contend that its technology could threaten the safety of conventional food crops by mixing with them. California's native rice industry drove Ventria's experimental work out of the state two years ago, and protests by farmers and others in Missouri caused the company to abandon plans there.

Kansas has no rice-growing industry, so little opposition is expected. State officials are enthusiastic about Ventria's plans after connecting with the company this year at a biosciences convention in Chicago.

State Agriculture Secretary Adrian Polansky said Ventria will create a "closed system" in which its rice is stored near fields and used only by Ventria. The company will burn the material not used, he said, reports AP.

Ventria chief executive Scott Deeter said at a news conference Friday that the company genetically modifies its rice so that it produces a protein common in the human body. The protein is then extracted and used in medical products.

"We can make a major difference for some of the children around the world who need it the most," Deeter said.

Growing the thirsty crop in Kansas is considered viable because Junction City sits close to the Kansas River and is in a relatively wet part of an otherwise arid state.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team