FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 11, 2006
In the US Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International GE campaigner, +1-202-285-7398 In Amsterdam Jeremy Tager, Greenpeace International GE rice campaigner +31 6 4622 1185 Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace International communications officer +31 6 4619 7324 Images are available of the contaminated rice products Contact the Greenpeace International picture desk +31 20 718 2058
US Illegal GE Rice Contamination Spreads Further into Europe
Bayers illegal GE rice found in major German supermarket
NEW YORK - September 11 - The scandal around illegal genetically engineered (GE) rice entering European food outlets has grown today as Greenpeace tests reveal illegal rice from the US has contaminated rice on supermarket shelves in Germany. Last week Greenpeace revealed illegal GE rice from China, which poses a potential health risk, had ended up in rice products on European shelves. (1) The European Food Safety Committee meets today to determine the EU response to the potentially widespread contamination of rice and rice products and Greenpeace is calling on the EU to implement strong measures to stop further contamination.
Tests conducted by an independent laboratory have confirmed the
presence of Bayer's Liberty Link rice in US parboiled long grain rice
sold in Aldi Nord a major German supermarket chain which also has 700
outlets throughout France. Bayers LL GE rice is not approved for food
or cultivation anywhere in the world except for the United States and
"The first question we are asking to both US and European authorities
is how widespread is this contamination in products already on grocery
store shelves?" said Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace GE campaigner.
"The second question is what are they doing to protect
consumers?" Greenpeace is demanding global testing of consumer
products by the rice products industry and a European recall of
contaminated US rice products.
Greenpeace is also calling on US authorities and food companies to
protect US consumers. "We know that food products in Europe are
contaminated. What about the rice products that US consumers are
buying, like Uncle Ben's and Rice Krispies? We haven't
heard a peep from the US food industry. What assurance are
companies such as Kellogg's providing to consumers that their products
sold in US supermarkets do not contain illegal GMOs?" added Stabinsky.
Greenpeace followed the announcement of contamination with a letter to
US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, calling on the agency to test
all rice exports, regardless of destination. Other important
export markets for US long grain rice and rice products include Mexico
and the Middle East, where countries such as Saudi Arabia have strict
laws regulating GE food products. Greenpeace is urging
governments around the world to protect consumers in their countries
and test rice products on supermarket shelves that originate from the
For the past two years, US rice producers have refused to grow GE rice
commercially because of lack of consumer acceptance around the
world. The US rice industry, already reeling under
widespread contamination and multiple lawsuits as a result of falling
rice prices, is now likely to face an even larger global backlash.
"We know from experience in the Starlink case that the initial
contamination finding is just the tip of the iceberg. Once
illegal GE crops are in the food chain, removing them takes enormous
effort and cost. It is easier to prevent contamination in the first
place and stop any plans to commercialise GE rice," concluded Jeremy
Tager, GE rice campaigner with Greenpeace International. "This is
a clear message to the global rice industry - stay away from GE rice or
you risk serious long-term economic damage to your market."
Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and food production that is
grounded in the principles of sustainability, protection of
biodiversity and providing all people to have access to safe and
nutritious food. Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted
technology that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity
and poses unacceptable risks to health.