The scandal around illegal genetically engineered (GE) rice entering European food outlets has grown today as Greenpeace tests reveal illegal rice from the US has contaminated rice on supermarket shelves in Germany. Last week Greenpeace revealed illegal GE rice from China, which poses a potential health risk, had ended up in rice products on European shelves.
"The first question we are asking to both US and European authorities is how widespread is this contamination in products already on grocery store shelves?" said Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace GE campaigner. "The second question is what are they doing to protect consumers?" Greenpeace is demanding global testing of consumer products by the rice products industry and a European recall of contaminated US rice products.
Greenpeace is also calling on US authorities and food companies to protect US consumers. "We know that food products in Europe are contaminated. What about the rice products that US consumers are buying, like Uncle Ben's and Rice Krispies? We haven't heard a peep from the US food industry. What assurance are companies such as Kellogg's providing to consumers that their products sold in US supermarkets do not contain illegal GMOs?" added Stabinsky.
Greenpeace followed the announcement of contamination with a letter to US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, calling on the agency to test all rice exports, regardless of destination. Other important export markets for US long grain rice and rice products include Mexico and the Middle East, where countries such as Saudi Arabia have strict laws regulating GE food products.