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GM Contamination Register
Incident details
Region/Continent and country:
Asia / China
Category of incident:
What was contaminated:
Food
GM organism involved:
Rice
Year incident occurred:
2005

Route of contamination
Illegal release

China - illegal sale and growing of GM rice revealed by Greenpeace

In April 2005, Greenpeace uncovered GM rice, unapproved for human consumption, that appeared to have been planted and sold illegally in China for the previous two years. Investigations found samples of rice seed and unmilled and milled rice containing GM strains.

An independent testing laboratory confirmed the presence of transgenic DNA in 19 samples. Two of the samples tested positive for the Bt protein indicating they were Bt rice - a form which has been genetically engineered to produce an inbuilt pesticide.

Chinese officials announced that they would conduct an investigation into the GM contamination of rice but in June 2005, Greenpeace discovered that illegal GM rice from Hubei has contaminated rice in Guangzhou, the largest city in Southern China. Twenty one samples of rice produced in Hubei were collected from rice wholesalers in Guangzhou, and two of them were found by GeneScan to be GM rice. One of the samples was tested positive as Bt rice.

Greenpeace also collected nine more seed samples from Hubei province. All of them were found to be GM rice seeds and eight samples were tested positive as Bt rice. The new research by Greenpeace also revealed conclusive evidence of the source of the contamination. Two GM rice seed samples were advertised as a product of New Technology Company of Huazhong Agriculture University, a company owned by the University.

Greenpeace estimates that up to twenty nine tons of GM rice seeds have been sold in Hubei this year, and if no recall action is taken, the seeds could produce up to 14,500 tons of GM rice when harvested.
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Further information

Scandal: Greenpeace discovers illegal GE rice in China. 13th April 2005. >

Guangzhou people are exposed to risks of untested GE rice. Greenpeace Press Release June 13, 2005 >

Genetically engineered rice: Illegal and unwanted in China. Greenpeace report. June 13 2005 >


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