An independent lab has determined that rice seed to be sold this year by the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station is free of LibertyLink, according to Steve Linscombe, the station director.

“All seed stocks that will be offered for sale have tested negative for all LibertyLink traits,” said Linscombe, who is the LSU AgCenter’s regional director for southwestern Louisiana, including the rice station.

Sampling of the seed stocks was conducted by personnel from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Linscombe said, and the analyses were conducted by a private, independent seed lab in Wisconsin certified to conduct such analyses.

The stocks to be sold include foundation class seed of the varieties known as Bengal, Cheniere, Cocodrie, Dellrose, Ecrevisse, Jupiter, Pirogue, Trenasse and Toro-II.

In addition, seed of the variety Della, which is being offered for sale as a non-certified class, also has tested negative for LibertyLink traits.

Linscombe added that all headrow seed lots that will be planted on the research station for future seed production also have been tested and that the results were negative for the presence of LibertyLink traits.

The LibertyLink trait was developed to allow farmers to spray the Liberty herbicide to control weeds in genetically modified rice without killing the crop.

LibertyLink rice has not been offered for sale by its developer, Bayer CropScience. But small amounts of the trait were found in rice shipped to the European Union last year — upsetting the sale of U.S. rice to countries in the EU.

Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have reviewed the available scientific data and concluded there is no human health, food, safety or environmental concerns associated with this genetically engineered rice.