The European Federation of Rice Millers, which represents about 90% of all EU trade in rice, has confirmed to the European Commission the presence of an unauthorised GMO rice in the European market.

The federation found that of the 162 samples tested, 33 tested positive for the LL601 strain, according to the Commission.
Rice that tested positive has already been recalled or withheld from the market and the federation will continue withdrawals for any positive findings.

Following a Commission decision adopted at the end of August – requiring national border controls to verify that imports of long grain rice from the USA are certified as free from LL601 rice – no consignments without the proper certification have entered the EU market.

However, the Netherlands has told the commission about the shipment of 20000 tonnes of US rice detained in Rotterdam on suspicion of LL601 contamination, and of the suspected barges tested so far three have shown up positive for the presence of LL601, while 20 others tested negative. The Dutch authorities are carrying out further analytical testing, the Commission added.

The consignments that tested negative for the unauthorised GMO have now been allowed to proceed to their final destination, while those which tested positive continue to be detained in Rotterdam and will either be returned to the US or destroyed.

Following reports by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth last week that they had found evidence of a strain of GM rice in products imported from China, the Commission has also requested that all relevant information and samples be submitted to authorities. It has also written to the Chinese authorities requesting further information, and asked industry and Member States to intensify their controls of rice products on the market.