French tests confirm banned GM rice from US

15th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 14, 2006 (AFP) - France confirmed on Thursday that traces of a banned genetically modified strain of rice had been found in imports from the United States after an alert last month by the European Commission.

PARIS, Sept 14, 2006 (AFP) - France confirmed on Thursday that traces of a banned genetically modified strain of rice had been found in imports from the United States after an alert last month by the European Commission.

French market and consumer regulator DGCCRF said that traces of the LL601 strain of rice, which has been banned by the 25-nation European Union, had been detected in seven out of 19 samples tested.

"At this stage, the results reveal the absence of GMO in 12 samples and the presence of the LL601 strain of rice, at a level less than 0.1 percent, in seven samples," the regulator said in a statement.

Samples had been taken from France's main importers of rice from the United States following an alert by the European Commission in August, which in turn had been warned by US authorities about the risk of a possible contamination.

Stocks containing the banned strain were to be destroyed or sent back. Rice that had already been sold was to be recalled as a routine safety measure.

On Wednesday the main distributors had assured consumers that all contaminated products, including packets of rice and cooked meals containing rice, had been recalled.

Jérome Bedier, president of the French Federation of Commerce and Distribution, said that it could not be ruled out that some contaminated rice had been consumed, although he stressed that the recall had been swift.

Around 20,000 tonnes of rice is imported into France from the United States every year. National rice consumption is around 250,000 tonnes.

The European Commission was waiting for results of a test on possible risks by the European Food Safety Agency. The US ministry of agriculture said on August 21 that there was no risk to human health.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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