Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace yesterday claimed to have found traces of genetically modified rice in Chinese products available in the UK and Europe. The groups are blaming the contamination of Chinese rice on the field trials of GM crops not yet approved for commercial growing and requesting that the EU bring in urgent measures to prevent GM products from being sold.
The campaign groups had various rice products tested in a German laboratory. Researchers found traces of insect-resistant rice in two brands of vermicelli and one packet of rice sticks brought from two stores in London’s Chinatown as well as products bought in France and Germany.
Products containing unauthorized GM material cannot legally be sold in the UK or elsewhere in the EU and the groups warn that this experimental GM rice has not been cleared for human consumption and could spark allergic reactions.
When the US government last month confirmed the presence of a GM strain of long-grain rice which was not approved for human consumption, the EU responded with a strict measure requiring all rice imported from the US to be tested and certified to prove it doesn’t contain unauthorized GM strains.
The European Commission in London has asked the groups to the send the samples to the relevant authorities for verification and intends to contact Chinese authorities for more information.