Tests conducted by an independent laboratory have confirmed
thepresence of Bayer's Liberty Link rice in US parboiled long grain
ricesold in Aldi Nord a major German supermarket chain which also
has 700outlets throughout France. Bayers LL GE rice is not approved
for foodor cultivation anywhere in the world except for the United
"The first question we are asking to both US and European
authoritiesis how widespread is this contamination in products
already on grocerystore shelves?" said Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace
GE campaigner. "The second question is what are they doing to
protectconsumers?" Greenpeace is demanding global testing of
consumerproducts by the rice products industry and a European
recall ofcontaminated US rice products.
Greenpeace is also calling on US authorities and food companies
toprotect US consumers. "We know that food products in Europe
arecontaminated. What about the rice products that US consumers
arebuying, like Uncle Ben's and Rice Krispies? We haven'theard a
peep from the US food industry. What assurance arecompanies such
as Kellogg's providing to consumers that their productssold in US
supermarkets do not contain illegal GMOs?" added Stabinsky.
Greenpeace followed the announcement of contamination with a
letter toUS Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, calling on the
agency to testall rice exports, regardless of destination. Other
importantexport markets for US long grain rice and rice products
include Mexicoand the Middle East, where countries such as Saudi
Arabia have strictlaws regulating GE food products. Greenpeace is
urginggovernments around the world to protect consumers in their
countriesand test rice products on supermarket shelves that
originate from theUnited States.
For the past two years, US rice producers have refused to grow
GE ricecommercially because of lack of consumer acceptance around
theworld. The US rice industry, already reeling underwidespread
contamination and multiple lawsuits as a result of fallingrice
prices, is now likely to face an even larger global backlash.
"We know from experience in the Starlink case that the
initialcontamination finding is just the tip of the iceberg.
Onceillegal GE crops are in the food chain, removing them takes
enormouseffort and cost. It is easier to prevent contamination in
the firstplace and stop any plans to commercialise GE rice,"
concluded JeremyTager, GE rice campaigner with Greenpeace
International. "This isa clear message to the global rice industry
- stay away from GE rice oryou risk serious long-term economic
damage to your market."
Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and food production that
isgrounded in the principles of sustainability, protection
ofbiodiversity and providing all people to have access to safe
andnutritious food. Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and
unwantedtechnology that contaminates the environment, threatens
biodiversityand poses unacceptable risks to health.
VVPR info: In the USDoreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International GE campaigner, +1-202-285-7398In AmsterdamJeremy Tager, Greenpeace International GE rice campaigner +31 6 4622 1185Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace International communications officer +31 6 4619 7324Images are available of the contaminated rice productsContact the Greenpeace International picture desk +31 20 718 2058
Notes: Greenpeace International and Friends of the Earth UK also released findings last week that show a different illegal GE (genetically engineered) rice variety from China has contaminated food products in France, Germany and the UK. Greenpeace International has notified authorities that the illegal GE rice poses serious health risks and calls upon European governments to take immediate action to protect consumers. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/IllegalChinaGErice