Date Published: 2 September 2006
UK: Testing to be carried out for unauthorised GM rice
The Food Standards Agency will ensure that testing and monitoring will be carried out on consignments of American long grain rice in the UK. This follows the statement by the US authorities that trace amounts of GM rice have been found in a sample of rice in the US.
According to information provided by the UK's Rice Association, GM material has been detected at very low levels and could be present in imports in the UK. The Agency is taking this action to ensure that future supplies of rice are GM free.
Although the European Food Safety Authority is doing a detailed evaluation, the Agency has already taken the advice of independent experts in the UK on the safety implications of this rice. They have advised that on the basis of current evidence the presence of low levels of this GM material in the food supply is not a safety concern.
No GM rice has been approved for sale in the EU and therefore GM varieties should not be present in imported rice. All imports of long grain rice are being held at ports until they can be certified to be free of GM. The European Commission is leading discussions with the US authorities to ensure that no further products containing unauthorised GM material are exported to Europe.
FSA Director of Food Safety Dr Andrew Wadge said:
" The presence of this GM material in rice on sale in the UK is illegal under European food law, even at extremely low levels. This is why we are taking steps to test American long grain rice and ensure future imports are GM free.
_ Food retailers are responsible for ensuring that the food they sell does not contain unauthorised GM material.
_ Our independent scientific experts have looked at the data on this material and have concluded that there is no food safety risk. Therefore the Agency is advising people who have long grain rice from the US at home that they can continue to eat it."
Standards Agency (FSA), UK