The first GM food crop containing human genes is set to be approved for commercial production. The laboratory-created rice produces some of the human proteins found in breast milk and saliva. Its U.S. developers say they could be used to treat children with diarrhoea, a major killer in the Third World. The rice is a major step in so-called Frankenstein Foods, the first mingling of human-origin genes and those from plants. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already signalled it plans to allow commercial cultivation. The rice’s producers, California-based Ventria Bioscience, have been given preliminary approval to grow it on more than 3,000 acres in Kansas. The company plans to harvest the proteins and use them in drinks, desserts, yoghurts and muesli bars. The news provoked horror among GM critics and consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic. GeneWatch UK, which monitors new GM foods, described it as "very disturbing". Researcher Becky Price warned: "There are huge, huge health risks and people should rightly be concerned about this." Friends of the Earth campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: "Using food crops and fields as glorified drug factories is a very worrying development. "If these pharmaceutical crops end up on consumers’ plates, the consequences for our health could be devastating. "The biotech industry has already failed to prevent experimental GM rice contaminating the food chain. "The Government must urge the U.S. to ban the production of drugs in food crops. It must also introduce tough measures to prevent illegal GM crops contaminating our food and ensure that biotech companies are liable for any damage their products cause." In the U.S., the Union of Concerned Scientists, a policy advocacy group, warned: "It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors. "There would be little control over the doses people might get exposed to, and some might be allergic to the proteins." The American Consumers Union and the Washingtonbased Centre for Food Safety also oppose Ventria’s plans.