Evira investigated presence of genetically modified rice in foods and feeds marketed in Finland

9.10.2006

<div>The studies that were conducted as random tests revealed six batches of rice designed for food production and one cat feed product that contained the unauthorised LL RICE 601 rice. The products had been imported from USA. The samples were analysed in the Customs Laboratory.</div>

Foods

Food Control took nine random samples of long grain rice of US origin stored in the importers warehouses. Unauthorised genetically modified rice was found in the following batches:

  • Uncle Ben’s dark rice 9.07 kg designed for institutional kitchens (best before dates 1.5.2007 and 31.8.2007), imported by Masterfoods Oy
  • Menu dark rice 10 kg designed for institutional kitchens (best before date 6.3.2007), imported bv Ruokakesko Oy
  • Menu wild rice assortment 5 kg designed for institutional kitchens (best before dates 16.5.2008 and 8.6.2008), imported by Ruokakesko Oy
  • Pirkka wild rice assortment 1 kg designed for retail (best before date 16.6.2008), imported by Ruokakesko Oy

In addition, Ruokakesko Oy's own in-house control has revealed presence of genetically modified rice in Pirkka instant rice 4 x 125 g designed for retail (best before dates 16.6.2008 and 1.9.2008).

Municipal food control authorities have imposed a release ban on the batches stored in the operators' warehouses, and the operators have initiated action to withdraw from the market the products that contain genetically modified rice.

Feeds

Feed Control took nine random samples of feeds that contain rice, and one of the samples tested positive for genetically modified rice. The positive sample was Nutro Choice Adult Chicken cat feed imported by Akvaario Piekkala Oy. A sales and marketing ban has been imposed on the imported batch and the importer has been ordered to withdraw the feed from the market.

Background

The EU Commission was in August informed by the US authorities that genetically modified rice LL RICE 601 has possibly become mixed with commercial rice and thereby entered both the food chain and the feed chain. No authorisation has been applied for genetically modified rice LL RICE 601 in the EU or in the USA. Genetically modified foods and feeds may not be marketed in the European Community unless they have received an authorisation. Evira informed about the matter by a Press Release dated 25 August 2006.

The Commission adopted on 23 August 2006 a decision (No. 2006/601/EC) concerning action taken with respect to genetically modified rice LL RICE 601 and supplemented the decision on 5 September 2006. Pursuant to the decision no rice products under suspicion may be allowed to enter the market unless the consignment is accompanied by a certificate assuring the absence of genetically modified rice LL RICE 601. In addition, Member States shall carry out controls on products already on the market, to ensure that they are free from genetically modified rice LL Rice 601. Rice products that are under suspicion include long grain rice of US origin.

Genetically modified rice is not assumed to pose a health hazard

According to US authorities, genetically modified rice LL RICE 601 does not pose a health hazard to people, animals or the environment. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has also assessed the safety documentation associated with this rice. However, EFSA was unable to conduct a complete risk assessment due to the deficiency of the documentation submitted to it. On the basis of the information received and the small amount of genetically modified rice, EFSA has concluded that LL RICE 601 rice is not assumed to pose a health hazard to people or animals. Consequently, the situation is not considered a health hazard, but a violation against legislation, as the EU has not authorised any genetically modified rices.

For more information, please contact:

GM-food – Senior Officer Sari Sippola, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24291
GM-feed – Senior Officer Tiina Seppälä, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 25228
Analytics – Customs Chemist Anna-Riitta Savolainen, tel. +358 (0) 9 6141 (exchange)

Information available:

Related Categories: