FSA News Item, 6 November 2006
Friends of the Earth have filed a legal challenge against the Food Standards Agency over its handling of the contamination of American long grain rice with unauthorised GM material.
The Agency is defending the claims made by the environmental campaign group as it believes its actions on this issue have been appropriate and proportionate. Friends of the Earth are seeking a judicial review, which involves a court reviewing the actions of the Agency. The court has the power to order the Agency to act if it believes it has not operated in accordance with the relevant EU law.
Safety experts have advised on the basis of current evidence that rice containing trace levels of this GM material is not likely to pose an imminent safety concern. However, its presence in food is illegal in the European Union. Since a European Commission Decision was adopted on 23 August 2006, all imports of long grain rice from the USA have been certified to be free of the unauthorised GM material before being allowed to enter the EU. As an additional precaution, new rules are being brought into force to ensure that imports of US are also retested at the point of entry into the EU.
The Agency has carried out sampling on bulk consignments of American long grain rice at mills. The results of this work will be published shortly. We have also reminded retailers of their responsibility for ensuring that the products which they sell do not contain GM material.
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