Food Authorities Delay Response to GE Rice Contamination
New Zealand's response to GE contamination in US-grown rice is a shadow of the response internationally and Food Authorities are ducking for cover to explain why.
The NZFSA has acknowledged that "low levels" of the LL601 rice are in the food supply. When written to and asked what testing they are conducting, they have refused to answer instead forcing a delay in answering by treating the correspondance as an official information Act request.
LL601 is a genetically engineered rice designed by Bayer Crop Science. It has not been commercialised and was withdrawn from further development in 1998. LL601 Rice has not undergone any animal or human feeding study and has not been approved for sale or consumption anywhere in the world. It was discovered that a small amount contaminated the rice seed supply, leading to a recently lodged class action court case in America.
"This is an illegal rice, we have been assured that no GE food would be allowed in the food chain unless it had undergone stringent safety testing. The NZFSA are deliberately flouting their own safety guidelines and risking public health through not testing the incoming US rice". says Claire Bleakely from GE Free NZ in food and environment.
"We need to have questions answered now as to why New Zealand is not doing what Europe and Japan are doing to secure integrity in the food supply."
When other countries are taking action it wrong for NZFSA to delay further the New Zealand situation and they must test and remove any contaminated rice from shelves.
Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 027 348 6731
06-234-01p Bayer CropScience, Received: 22-AUG-2006, Status: Pending