Commission to propose strict counter testing of US rice imports for unauthorised GMOs

October 20, 2006

Brussels, 19 October 2006

The European Commission will table a Decision imposing mandatory counter testing for unauthorised GMOs in all imports of US long grain rice, at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain next Monday. The decision follows the lack of agreement by the US authorities to a common sampling and testing protocol which would ensure a high level of consistency and accuracy in the tests for the unauthorised GM rice LLRICE601 in consignments to the EU. The measures are being taken in response to findings four weeks ago of LLRICE601 in shipments of US long grain rice, despite the rice having been certified as free from this unauthorised GMO. On 4 October, the European Commission gave Commissioner Kyprianou the mandate to introduce this counter testing, but to first allow 15 days to seek agreement with the US on a common approach to sampling and testing. However, despite extensive discussions between both sides, the Commission and the USA were unable to agree on such a protocol. US long grain rice imports will continue to be subject to the certification requirements imposed when LL601 was first reported to be in US rice in August (see IP/06/1120 ). Now in addition, under the draft Decision to be presented to the Standing Committee on Monday, all consignments of US long-grain rice will also be sampled and tested at the point of entry to the EU by Member State authorities according to the EU testing protocol, which will be referred to in the decision. Responsibility for paying for this additional testing will lie with the operators. The counter tests will also take into account the French authorities' recent finding of another unauthorised GMO, LLRICE62, in US rice, as the tests to be applied will also detect this GMO.

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