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EU Considers Further Testing of U.S. Rice Imports

Saga over unapproved biotech content in U.S. long grain rice continues as Europe looks at new testing protocols.

The European Commission said Wednesday it is considering requiring testing of U.S. rice imports. The proposal of mandatory testing is an effort to prevent unauthorized genetically modified strains from entering the continent.

The commission plans to wait 15 days before imposing the rule in order to allow time to negotiate a common sample and testing protocol with Washington, says European Commission spokesman Philip Tod. If the U.S. and European Commission do not reach an agreement, the commission will submit its proposal to be approved by EU governments.

After Bayer AG announced in July that it had found LLRice601, a biotech strain of rice, in Arkansas and Missouri storage units, the EU tightened screening regulations to keep biotech rice out of its market. Now it is illegal to import biotech rice into any EU member country, and U.S. shipments of long grain rice brands must be certified LLRice601-free by an accredited laboratory.

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