EU clamps down on GM rice
EU must take urgent action to prevent future contamination incidents
Friends of the Earth Europe
For Immediate Release: August 23 2006
Brussels, Wednesday 23 August 2006 - Friends of the Earth Europe has welcomed today's announcement by the European Commission that all consignments of US long grain rice must be tested to ensure that they do not contain an unauthorised genetically modified rice strain. But the environmental campaign group has stressed that this incident highlights the need for new, tighter EU measures to prevent future contamination incidents from occurring.
Friends of the Earth Europe's GM campaigner, Adrian Bebb said: "We are pleased that the European Commission has taken action to stop imports of this contaminated rice, but it must go further and prevent similar incidents happening again. The EU must put robust measures in place, including comprehensive and routine testing, to ensure that food illegally contaminated with GM material is kept out of the European food chain. Our right to choose GM-free food must be protected."
"This incident highlights once again that the biotech industry is out of control. In Europe, we should learn a lesson from this and should be extremely cautious about growing genetically modified crops ourselves," Mr Bebb added.
The emergency measures announced today by the European Commission will mean that - with immediate effect - consignments of US long grain rice will not be allowed into the EU unless they have been tested by an accredited laboratory using a validated testing method and are accompanied by a certificate assuring the absence of LL Rice 601. The Commission also declared that Member States should carry out controls on products already on the EU market, to ensure that they are free from the unauthorised GM rice. (1)
This latest case of GM contamination follows a similar incident in March last year in which the biotech company Syngenta admitted to selling an experimental and illegal GM maize variety to US farmers for four years.This led to maize exports to Europe being contaminated.
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(1)Commission Question and Answers: