On March 9, the USDA released the following statement: “Testing by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the presence of trace levels of genetic material not yet approved for commercialization in Clearfield 131 rice seed. Based on these test results, further distribution or planting of 2005, 2006, or 2007 registered or certified CL 131 seed is prohibited. This seed is not an option for planting this crop season.

“These test results confirm results received from private testing that were announced March 5.

“APHIS is issuing emergency action notifications (EANs) to distributors of 2005, 2006, or 2007 registered or certified CL 131 rice seed — and producers who are known to have received it — to stop the further distribution and planting of this seed. And, APHIS is working with the rice industry to inform distributors and farmers with saved CL 131 rice seed from prior crop years that they cannot further distribute or plant it.

“Producers who have already planted CL 131 seed this season prior to this announcement have several options, including treating with a herbicide or mechanically destroying the plants after emergence. A different variety of rice or a broadleaf crop such as soybeans can then be planted in its place.

“For further information about these options, contact Thomas Sim, director of regulatory operations for APHIS' Biotechnology Regulatory Services program, at (301) 734-7324.”