RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- BASF Agricultural Products announced yesterday it is cooperating with the USDA to remove all CLEARFIELD(R) CL131 rice from the marketplace following discovery that some of the seed has been contaminated by an unidentified genetically modified (GM) event.

BASF is taking this action in conjunction with USDA's March 4 issuance of an Emergency Action Notification on CL131 variety seed. The order calls for no planting or distribution of CL131 seed.

CLEARFIELD is conventionally bred (non-GM) rice containing BASF technology that allows growers to control red rice and other tough weeds.

BASF asked for additional testing of CLEARFIELD rice following the recent discovery of trace amounts of LibertyLink(R) LL62 GM events in CLEARFIELD seed.

LibertyLink technology is a product of Bayer CropScience. Ongoing testing of CL131 seed has been directed to detecting the presence of LL62, and another LibertyLink trait, LL601, both of which are deregulated and approved by federal authorities for human consumption.

On March 1, 2007, BASF notified USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of independent laboratory test findings on 2005 CL131 registered rice seed that indicated the presence of LibertyLink GM events, but tested negative for LL62 or LL601 - suggesting the presence of an unidentified and possibly regulated GM event. BASF is working with the USDA in an effort to identify the unknown event.

"BASF notified the USDA immediately after becoming aware of the laboratory findings and we continue to work cooperatively with USDA on this situation," said Andy Lee, Director of U.S. Business Operations, Crop Protection Products, for BASF. "BASF is steadfastly working to advance a clear and viable production environment for rice producers now and in future growing seasons."

BASF is in discussions with Bayer CropScience regarding technical assistance to expedite the identification of LL62, LL601 or other GM traits to help determine the scope and source of the GM presence in CLEARFIELD seed.

BASF remains firmly committed to CLEARFIELD technology and recognizes the substantial value that it offers rice producers. BASF is working with federal authorities and the seed industry to remove contamination from CLEARFIELD varieties as part of an ongoing responsible initiative to eliminate propagation of GM traits within those varieties.

With sales of (euro)3,079 million in 2006, BASF's Agricultural Products division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. The vision of BASF's Agricultural Products division is to be the world's leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population.

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. BASF has more than 95,000 employees and posted sales of (euro)52.6 billion (approximately $66.1 billion) in 2006.

SOURCE: BASF Corporation via PR Newswire.