Little is known about this GMO, known as BT63, as it has been grown only experimentally in China. Previous testing in China found widespread contamination of food products. This rice is not approved anywhere in the world for consumption.
Animal feed protein concentrate contaminated by Bt63 was discovered again in 2007 and 2008 in Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Spain and the UK.
The fact that this illegal GM crop apparently continues to be cultivated in China and is still contaminating the global food chain three years after the first contamination scandal, shows up the naivete of GM advocates who actually believe the GM genie can be kept in its bottle.
Illegally imported GM rice is destroyed by health officials
Aideen Sheehan, Consumer Correspondent
Irish Independent, 18 May 2009http://www.independent.ie
Health officials have destroyed banned genetically modified (GM) rice flour that was being illegally imported into Ireland.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has destroyed the GM rice flour from China and alerted other EU authorities to the issue in case further batches were being placed on sale in other countries.
The EU Commission is in touch with the Chinese authorities on the matter as the rice flour was made from Bt63 rice, a strain that contains a pesticide gene, but which is not authorised for sale in China or Europe.
The FSAI said that while there is no evidence that Bt63 rice poses a particular health risk, any genetically modified food or ingredient not authorised for cultivation under EU legislation carries a presumption of risk warranting emergency measures.
The rice flour in question bore the brand 'Ideal Foods' and was discovered at the time of import, but was probably destined for Asian food stores, according to the FSAI Chief Specialist in Biotechnology, Pat O'Mahony.
An environmental health officer took samples from the flour import which was seized on arrival in Dublin and sent them for analysis at th Public Analyst Laboratory in Cork which detected the presence of the genetically modified Bt63 strain in February.
The batch consisted of one box of 18 454g packets of rice flour which was not accompanied by the required analytical report certifiying it to be free of Bt63 rice ingredients.
The EU had imposed the requirements for China to include laboratory-certified analytical reports with rice because of previous scares.
The importer voluntarly surrendered the product to the FSAI for destruction, but there is no fine or penalty, said Mr O'Mahony.
COMMENT from GM-free Ireland: Bt63 is an illegal experimental pesticide-producing GM rice. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth first discovered the illegal rice in Chinese foods in September 2006. They immediately informed both the European Commission and the relevant national food safety authorities. The products were found in Chinese specialty stores in the UK, France and Germany.