Tainted biotech rice found in Germany (11/9/2006)

As Aldi rice in Germany has tested positive for LL601, it would be worth writing to Aldi in any countries where it has stores to ask if they have tested all their rice on sale.

In the UK the contact details are:
Aldi Stores Ltd
Holly Lane


Tainted biotech rice found in Germany
Greenpeace Reuters News Service, September 11 2006

BRUSSELS -- An unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) rice has found its way into the European Union's retail food sector and appeared for sale at branches of discount supermarket Aldi, environment group Greenpeace said on Monday.

The biotech rice strain, known as LL Rice 601, was found in Aldi branches in Germany, Greenpeace International said in a report. At present, no biotech rice at all is allowed to be grown, sold or marketed in the 25 countries of the EU.

"Tests conducted by an independent accredited laboratory have confirmed the presence of Bayer's Liberty Link rice in U.S. parboiled long grain rice sold in Aldi Nord, a major German supermarket chain," it said in a statement.

Officials at Aldi Nord were not immediately available for comment.

In August, the European Commission tightened requirements on U.S. long-grain rice imports to prove the absence of LL Rice 601, which it said was marketed by Germany's Bayer AG and produced in the United States.

In Frankfurt, a spokeswoman for Bayer said the company did not sell or produce LL Rice 601. She said the strain was developed by Aventis CropScience, a company bought by Bayer in 2002, but that development had been discontinued in 2001.

"We are taking note of this report, evaluating it together with the rice industry as more information becomes available," the spokeswoman said.

"We don't know whether Greenpeace has used testing methods validated by European authorities and whether they have used designated labs."

She also said U.S., British and Canadian regulators had confirmed the food safety of the rice.

The Commission's decision followed the discovery by U.S. authorities of trace amounts of LL Rice 601, engineered to resist a herbicide, in long-grain samples that were targeted for commercial use.

The only other evidence so far of the presence of LL Rice 601 in the EU-25 has been in the Netherlands, where Dutch authorities have been testing a 20,000-tonne U.S. rice cargo that was partly destined for Britain and partly for Germany.

As of last Friday, two-thirds of the cargo -- held in Rotterdam -- had been tested but no positive trace was found, European Commission officials said. The shipment equates to one month's average EU imports of U.S. long-grain rice.

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