More GM rice found in Heinz products (3/4/2006)

Previously, illegal GM rice was found in mainland China in Heinz Baby Rice Cereal, now it's turned up in Hong Kong too.

Genetically Engineered Rice Found In Hong Kong Heinz Products
China CSR, April 3, 2006

Illegal Genetically Engineered (GE) rice was found for the first time in Hong Kong food market, Greenpeace China announced today.

The rice was found in Heinz's Baby Rice Cereal, previously exposed in the mainland to be contaminated by Bt rice genetically engineered to be resistant to pests. The illegal GE rice was also found in ParknShop's own rice brand sold in Guangzhou.

"The finding indicates that the scale of contamination by illegal GE rice might be much larger than we have estimated," comments Steven Ma, GE campaigner for Greenpeace China, "the Heinz and ParknShop incidents might be a tip of the iceberg."

The latest round of testing is run by the independent lab, the Hong Kong-based DNA Chips. GE ingredients were detected in 5 Heinz rice cereal products, contrary to the company's previous claims that no GE ingredients were ever found.

Among those 5 products, 2 were sold in the Hong Kong market. The independent testing also confirms that 3 of the 5 Heinz cereal products contain illegal Bt rice, with a protein (Cry1Ac) that has reportedly induced allergenic-like reactions in mice.

On March 28, Carrefour announced that it will not sell illegal GE rice in its stores, ensured by random testing and instant withdrawal of the product. ParknShop, after alerted by Greenpeace about the finding, made the same promise on March 31 that it will implement a surveillance system for its Best Buy rice.

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