|| Illegal Rice Bt63 from China Contaminates Food Products
In April 2005, GE rice seeds were found by Greenpeace to have been sold and grown commercially for a number of years in central China’s Hubei province. GE rice is illegal in China; it has not been approved as safe for either human consumption or the environment.
Seed companies in China that were found to have sold GE rice hybrid seed to farmers operate directly under the university developing GE rice and it has been reported that the key scientist even sat on the board of one of the seed companies.
Following the first exposure of the illegal GE rice, more cases of contamination have been revealed involving almost all parts of the food chain. It was found in wholesale market and unpackaged rice in supermarkets. In 2006 it was found as well in baby food sold in Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In late 2006, the GE rice Bt63 was found for the first time outside the People’s Republic of China in Europe: 10 cases of GE rice contaminated products were reported by European governments (Austria, France, UK and Germany), and other cases were found by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
The Chinese government took several measures to try to stop the contamination, which included punishing seed companies, confiscating GE seed, destroying GE rice grown in the field and tightening control over the food chain. Despite these efforts and as with the StarLink corn incident in the past the GE rice has still not been removed from the food chain.
In 2007, it was found in 10 imports to Europe (Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden. The European Commission has now adopted emergency measures (commencing 15 April 2008) to require compulsory certification for the imports of Chinese rice products that could contain the unauthorised GMO Bt63.
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Bt63 was also found in a number of products imported to Japan, which had been testing for Bt63 since September 2006 but did not find contaminated products until January 2007.
To read about the other incidents involving the illegal
Chinese GM rice click on the links below:
Rice contamination in
products imported from China.
Contamination of Heinz baby foods in China.
Illegal growing of GM rice in