EU decides whether to test all US long-grain rice imports for illegal GM rice LL601

In response to the contamination of US long-grain rice with the non-approved GM rice LL601, the European Commission has required all US imports to be tested for the GM rice line. At the beginning of this month, the Commission set a deadline - expiring on 19 October - for agreement with US authorities on a common sampling protocol.

If the European Commission and US authorities fail to negotiate a common sampling protocol by 19 October, the Commission will consider all US imports of long-grain rice to be untested for the presence of the unapproved GM rice LL601. Since no unapproved GMOs may be imported to the EU, member states consequently would be compelled to analyse all US imports of long-grain rice for a potential contamination with LL601. Exporters would be responsible for costs.

The news agency Reuters quoted a Commission official as saying: "We will have to decide whether we have a deal (with the United States) or not. If we don't, we will send the matter to the standing committee (of EU experts) on Monday.“ So far, the GM rice LL601 has been found in at least nine EU countries.