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Retest of European Rice Finds More Biotech Content

Initial lots labeled 'gm-free' turn out to contain unapproved LL601 rice.

The European Commission announced Thursday that a consignment of U.S. rice certified as "GM-free" was retested and found to contain Bayer's unapproved LL601 biotech rice strain. Twelve consignments of rice - imported from the US through Rotterdam after the contamination was discovered - have been released, destined for the UK, Belgium, France and Germany. These consignments were certified as free of contamination from LL601 Sept. 11 by the European Rice Millers Federation.

But the Dutch authorities retested some samples that had been held back from the shipments and found them positive for LL601 rice contamination. The national authorities in Belgian, France, Germany and the UK have been informed of the error by the European Commission and asked to trace the contaminated shipments.

The Friends of the Earth Europe warned that if the "contaminated rice has slipped through the net once, then how can we be sure that it won't happen again?" The activist group is asking the European Commission to "suspend long grain rice imports from the United States until the testing system is fully reviewed and proven to be robust and trustworthy."

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