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NZ Authorities Silent Over Rice

NZ Authorities Silent Over Rice

New Zealand food authorities appear to be asleep at the wheel in regard to the discovery of illegal GE contamination in imported US rice.

Though now banned in the EU and Japan, imports of rice contaminated by LLRICE 601 appears to have been going on for some time without Bayer or regulatory authorities taking action to alert consumers or industry.

NZFSA have yet to reply to enquiries about the contamination. FSANZ are also being contacted by GE Free NZ about the matter.

"There silence shows just how shamefully incompetent or disinterested authorities are about illegal GE elements entering the food chain, " says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"If they even notice the EU and Japanese actions to ban contaminated imports, they appear to be in no rush to take equivalent actions to protect the integrity of New Zealand or Australia's food supply".

Claims of "safety" for the product are unsubstantiated as the product was never scrutinsd by independent authorities and was actually deleted from Bayer's project list some years ago. The reasons for its termination remain unclear.

Ironically, Australian rice growers may yet be the beneficiaries of this incident as manufacturers around the world seek out GE-free supplies.

Australian produce, like New Zealand's, remains GE-free and New Zealand producers should ensure they can continue to sell GE-free produce by rejecting government plans to allow "threshold GE contamination" which will harm sales to our most important markets.


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