GM Rice LL601: new detection method ready for use

Responding to international bans, a new test for an unapproved rice strain has been made available quickly.

EU food safety authorities have, since Monday this week, a new tool to detect the presence of the unauthorised GM rice LL601 in imports:  the test was produced together by US authorities and BayerCropScience USA – the developer of LL601 – after traces of this material were noticed in supplies of conventional rice.

After notification by US authorities of the contamination, Japan and the EU restricted the import of US long-grain rice and, since then, only accept charges certified to be free of rice LL601 – measures which, since no detection method was available, amounted initially to a de facto ban. Rice imports from the USA now may be resumed.

Also on Monday, rice growers from several US states initiated a suit against BayerCropScience for failing to prevent unauthorised GM rice from reaching the food chain. The growers say that this has led to import restrictions in the EU and Japan and to a dramatic fall in the price of US rice. The case has been filed at the county court in Little Rock, Arkansas.