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GM Chinese Rice Maybe Contaminating European Food

The illegal rice contains a protein or fused protein (Cry1Ac) that has reportedly induced allergic-like reactions in mice.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Sept 5, 2006
The European Commission urged member states on Tuesday to intensify controls on genetically modified foods amid pressure group calls for a ban on Chinese rice imports feared to be contaminating EU products.

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth tested samples of rice products such as vermicelli, rice sticks and other processed foods in Britain, France and Germany. Five positive samples were found containing an illegal GM product, traced to China and not approved anywhere in the world, they said Tuesday.

"However, this could be the tip of the iceberg with rice products included in everything from baby food to yoghurt," Greenpeace International said in a statement.

European Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said the findings had not been received but acknowledged that food suppliers "are clearly not doing enough".

The commission has written to food operators "telling them that they are not doing enough and that we expect any rice product with illegal contact to be kept off the market," she added.

"We have asked member states to intensify controls on the market of rice products and they are to report back". EU states have been asked to provide test results by Thursday and the Commission will also write to the Chinese authoritiies seeking further information on the case, she added.

This is the second illegal GM rice row to hit Europe in three weeks.

Last month the European Commission ordered that imports of long grain rice from the United States be certified free of an unauthorized genetically modified strain which has been detected in the US.

Despite the measures, a commission spokesman said that the contamination of products in Europe could not be ruled out.

Friends of the Earth GM campaigner Adrian Bebb said: "It is shocking that contamination with illegal genetically modified rice has occurred for the second time in three weeks. The European Commission must react quickly and ban imports from China until consumers can be guaranteed that foods containing rice are safe from contamination. Chinese foods already in shops should also be immediately tested and products recalled if necessary.

"Consumers in Europe deserve better than panic measures each time the latest crisis breaks," he added.

The tainted products were found in Asian specialty stores and were imported from China, the environmental groups said.

"The illegal rice is an experimental variety genetically engineered to produce an insecticide. It is not approved for human consumption or commercial cultivation anywhere in the world," a Friends of the Earth spokesman said.

The illegal rice contains a protein or fused protein (Cry1Ac) that has reportedly induced allergic-like reactions in mice.

Both this latest incident and the contamination by Bayer's unauthorised GM rice in the United States allegedly resulted from outdoor field trials of GM crops.

Friends of the Earth Europe has now called for a global moratorium on field trials and a halt to the commercial development of GM rice.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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French Police Arrest Three As Hundreds Try To Destroy GM Crops
Grezet-Cavagnan (AFP) Sep 02, 2006
French police arrested three people on Saturday after hundreds of protesters including anti-globalisation icon Jose Bove tried to destroy a field of genetically-modified maize. Between 250 and 300 anti-GM protesters invaded the field in the Lot-et-Garonne area of southwest France on Saturday afternoon.







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