NOTE: Late yesterday the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued a food alert for action on genetically engineered Bt63 rice from China that is in the UK food chain. The alert informs local authorities of the need to take enforcement action to ensure tainted products are immediately withdrawn from sale.

TAKE ACTION: Now it's up to local authorities to carry out the necessary testing. If you're in the UK, please contact your local trading standards department of your local authority to ask them what testing they are planning to carry out in your area. Contaminated products previously found in the UK were rice noodle products imported from China found in speciality Asian stores.


Chinese rice imports 'tainted with illegal GM strain', food watchdog warns
By SEAN POULTER Daily Mail, 9th April 2008

[image caption - Warning: Chinese rice imports will now have to be screened]

Watchdogs have issued a national alert over Chinese rice imports thought to be tainted with an illegal genetically modified strain.

The Bt63 experimental variety of rice, which produces an insecticide, has not been approved for human consumption. There are fears it could cause an allergic reaction.

The Food Standards Agency issued an alert to food manufacturers and trading standards departments yesterday afternoon, saying any contaminated rice products must be withdrawn from sale immediately.

And an EU-wide alert means all Chinese rice imports will have to be screened for the strain.

In 2005, a Greenpeace investigation found that research institutes and seed companies in China had been illegally selling unapproved GM rice seeds to farmers.

Further testing indicated that the whole food chain had been contaminated, most recently affecting Heinz baby food in China.

The Chinese government reportedly punished seed companies and destroyed illegally-grown GM crops after the scandal.

But new contaminations were found in the EU last autumn, finally prompting an emergency EC decision on Bt63, set to come into force on April 15.

As early as September 2006, a Friends of the Earth investigation found two contaminated foods on sale in Asian speciality stores in London.

Many other products are likely to have been in the food chain both before and since.