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No biotech rice is allowed in EU
The Belgian food safety agency said it was likely that some of the rice had been eaten by consumers but the food did not constitute an "imminent threat to public health."

The two bargeloads within a 20,000-tonne cargo that had passed through the Dutch port of Rotterdam in August had first tested negative for the LL Rice 601 strain, developed by Germany's Bayer AG as resistant to a herbicide.

But Dutch counter-tests contradicted those first results, European Commission spokesman Philip Tod told a news briefing on Thursday, adding that EU procedures for testing U.S. long-grain rice imports would now be strengthened.

"In the light of these developments, the European Commission intends to take further action to strengthen the measure ... requiring the testing of U.S. long-grain rice imports for LL 601," he said, declining to specify what action was envisaged.

In August, the EU tightened requirements on U.S. long-grain rice imports to prove the absence of LL Rice 601. Its decision followed the discovery by U.S. authorities of trace amounts of LL Rice 601 in long-grain samples targeted for commercial use.

No biotech rice is allowed to be grown, sold or marketed on the territory of the 25 European Union countries.

Then, EU authorities were informed about a shipment loaded in New Orleans that arrived in Rotterdam in late August carrying the equivalent of one month's average EU imports of U.S. long-grain rice.

Later, one EU official said France, Britain, Germany and Belgium had been asked to conduct checks to trace any rice from the bargeloads. That was because the shipments were accompanied by certificates showing they were GMO-free, he said.

One of the two consignments that the Dutch tests revealed as carrying the LL Rice 601 strain is still under the control of the Dutch authorities. The other was sent to Belgium, where it is also being held by the national authorities.

A further 11 consignments that were initially certified as GMO-free were sent to Britain, France and Germany, he said.

"We have asked the authorities in those countries to carry out counter-tests," he told reporters.

"There are a lot of questions to which we don't have answers," he said. "All we know is that they were in possession of valid certificates and that is why they were released."

The Rotterdam cargo was split into 30 consignments each equating to the volume of one barge. In 2005, EU states imported 300,000 tonnes of U.S. rice, of which 85 percent was long grain.
MGR Archive 24.9.2006
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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