A survey of American long grain rice conducted by the UK's Food Standards Agency has revealed evidence of unauthorised genetically modified material, LLRICE601, in three out of 31 samples tested.

The tests were executed after the long grain rice was contaminated with GM material in the US and then imported into the European Union without proper authorisation.

Based on current evidence, safety experts have advised that the contaminated rice does not pose a threat to public health. However, the presence of GM material is illegal in the EU and the Agency has reminded retailers of their legal obligation to ensue the rice they sell is GM free.

The EC introduced a series of measures designed to ensure that rice imports from the US are GM free at the end of August. As an additional precaution, new rules have been introduced to ensure that imports of US long grain rice are retested at the point of entry into the EU.

The Agency's survey was carried out to provide information on the presence of the GM material in rice that was imported before 23 August, when the restrictive measures were introduced.