* Second ruling of about 500 similar cases pending
* U.S. jury orders Bayer to pay $1.5 million in damages
* Company says will consider legal options
(Adds details, background)
FRANKFURT, Feb 5 Germany's Bayer (BAYGn.DE) was
ordered by a jury in the United States to pay $1.5 million in
damages to three farmers for losses they incurred because of
contaminations of Bayer's genetically modified rice, the second
in about 500 similar cases pending.
The jury's ruling in a St. Louis court against Bayer's
CropScience division follows a related case in December, in
which Bayer was ordered to pay $2 million, the chemicals- and
drugmaker said on Friday after the close of trading in Germany.
"The company will assess this ruling thoroughly and consider
its options," a Bayer spokesman in Germany said.
"Bayer CropScience is standing by its view that the company
has handled its biotech rice responsibly and appropriately at
all times," he added.
A rice variety whose genetic code had been modified by a
Bayer subsidiary for research purposes and which was not
approved for commercial cultivation was found in the food supply
chain in August 2006 after it had been tested by a U.S.
As a result, Japan and the European Union restricted U.S.
rice from crossing their borders, leading to a plunge in rice
prices, a drop in exports and extensive losses incurred by U.S.
"Since the amounts claimed differ considerably from case to
case, the rulings so far do not allow for conclusions regarding
the outcome of the remaining cases pending," Bayer said.
The long-grain rice in question had a protein known as
Liberty Link, which allows the crop to withstand applications of
a certain weed killer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug
Administration said at the time there was no public health or
environmental risk associated with the rice variety.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Rupert Winchester)