EU may stop unauthorized GM rice imports Wednesday (22/8/2006)

1.EU May Stop Unauthorized US GMO Rice Imports Wednesday - DOW JONES
2.EU to act Wednesday on tainted US biotech rice - REUTERS

COMMENT: Item 2 shows it took the US administration nearly 3 weeks to pass on the information about the contamination of US rice.

1.EU May Stop Unauthorized US GMO Rice Imports Wednesday
DOW JONES, Tuesday August 22nd, 2006

BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The European Union may launch measures Wednesday to stop shipments of U.S. long-grain rice contaminated with an unauthorized genetically modified strain.

It is still unclear how customs officials will detect whether rice imports are contaminated or not, a European Commission spokeswoman said Tuesday. Experts are working on detection methods with U.S. officials and representatives of German biotech firm Bayer AG (BAY).

"We have to do what we can to make sure the rice doesn't come onto our market," said spokeswoman Antonia Mochan.

2.EU to act Wednesday on tainted US biotech rice
By Jeremy Smith
REUTERS, August 22 2006

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU authorities plan to act this week to ensure that an unauthorized biotech rice detected in the United States does not enter the bloc's food chain, an official at the European Commission said on Tuesday.

"We are hoping to adopt tomorrow measures that will ensure that this GM (genetically modified) rice will not reach consumers," the official told Reuters, declining to elaborate.

The biotech rice case recalls a similar transatlantic clash over GMO foods last year, when EU experts blocked imports of U.S. maize animal feed and grains unless there was proof they were untainted by an unauthorized GMO.

The European Commission was notified late on August 18 by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns of trace amounts of unauthorized biotech rice detected in long-grain samples that were targeted for commercial use.

On July 31, U.S. agriculture and food safety authorities were notified that testing by Bayer CropScience, a division of Bayer AG, showed the genetically engineered rice -- called LLRICE 601 -- in rice bins in Arkansas and Missouri.

It was the first time that unmarketed genetically engineered rice had been found in rice used in the U.S. commercial market.

Japan, for which the United States is the largest rice exporter, has already suspended imports of U.S. long-grain rice.

EU Commission experts have contacted Bayer and the U.S. authorities for more information about the unauthorized rice strain, with a view to establishing whether it might have found its way into any shipments destined for European markets.

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