France and Sweden have discovered traces of a banned genetically modified substance in imported US rice, in tests which must be confirmed by EU laboratories, a European Commission source said on Tuesday.
“Two member states, France and Sweden, have found, by their own methods, positive samples of GMO, these remain to be verified by the Commission’s testing methods,” the official said.
In France, seven samples out of 20 tested were found to include the unauthorized strain (GMO LL601), he said, on condition of anonymity.
According to Sofia Kurowska, an inspector at the Swedish Foods Administration, some 30,800 kilos of rice has already been sent back to the US by importers.
The tip-off came from the US department of agriculture.
Kurowska said that there are currently thousands of tonnes of rice from the same supplier blockaded in harbours around Europe.
“It can’t be sold. Either it will be destroyed or sent back,” she said to TT on Tuesday.
Sofia Kurowska dismissed fears about the dangers of eating the rice.
“It’s not dangerous. The rice has undergone a risk analysis in the US. They concluded that it is safe for people and the environment. This is about transparency and giving the consumer the right to choose,” she said.