EXCERPT: The rice is popular with some Hubei farmers as it is engineered to produce an inbuilt pesticide, but most of them would not dream of eating it themselves... "Most of the farmers we met don't eat this rice. They would explain that it is because they are afraid that this rice will harm their health," Sze said.
Risk of illegal genetically engineered rice in China's exports, Greenpeace warns
Channel News Asia, 13 June 2005
BEIJING: Environmental watchdog Greenpeace is warning illegal genetically engineered (GE) rice might contaminate China's exports to the rest of the world.
The warning came as Greenpeace said it had found illegal GE rice, which has produced allergic reactions when tested on mice, in the huge Chinese city of Guangzhou, just north of Hong Kong.
"We can't rule out the possibility that GE rice could contaminate rice exports from China," Sze Pang Cheung, a Greenpeace campaign manager, told a briefing in Beijing.
The announcement came just weeks after Greenpeace sounded the alarm over the proliferation of illegal GE rice in the central Chinese province of Hubei.
While no GE rice has yet been found in Chinese exports, there are two possible ways of contamination, he said.
"One, it will contaminate processed rice and go overseas, and the other possibility is that rice from Hubei could be used as ingredients for rice products or products which include rice ingredients," he said.
Japan, South Korea and the European Union have already raised concerns with the Chinese government regarding possible contamination of Chinese rice exports, according to Greenpeace.
"Immediate recall actions are needed if we are to prevent consumers from exposure to risks of untested GE rice," Sze said, commenting on the findings in Guangzhou.
The rice is popular with some Hubei farmers as it is engineered to produce an inbuilt pesticide, but most of them would not dream of eating it themselves, according to Greenpeace.
"Most of the farmers we met don't eat this rice. They would explain that it is because they are afraid that this rice will harm their health," Sze said.
China, a major exporter of rice, is considering commercialization of GE rice, and officials have indicated a decision may be made this year.
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