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REGULATION & POLICY: Mexico testing US rice for unapproved GMOstrains



                                  PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Mexico testing US rice for GMO strain: official
SOURCE: Reuters
AUTHOR:
URL:    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN1432075220070314
DATE:   14.03.2007
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Mexico testing US rice for GMO strain: official

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is conducting tests on U.S. rice imports
to ensure it is free of genetic material not approved for human
consumption, a government official said on Wednesday. Marco Antonio
Meraz, who heads a federal biosecurity and GMO commission, said the
government was testing for the LL Rice 601 strain, which contaminated
the U.S. commercial supply last year. The USA Rice Federation said on
Wednesday Mexican officials had stopped rice shipments at the border and
were asking for certification that the grain is free of the genetically
modified material.


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                                  PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Greenpeace protest over contaminated rice precedes Bush-Calderon
        meeting in Mexico
SOURCE: Greenpeace, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press/releases/greenpeace-protest-
over-contam
DATE:   12.03.2007
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...........................................................................
related Press Releases by Greenpeace Mexico
Se deslinda Sagarpa de la importación de arroz transgénico ilegal, 09.03.2007
http://www.greenpeace.org/mexico/press/releases/se-deslinda-sagarpa-de-la-impo
Arroces de Soriana, Chedrahui y Central de Abastos, contaminados con
transgénicos, 08.03.2007
http://www.greenpeace.org/mexico/press/releases/arroces-de-soriana-chedrahui
...........................................................................


Greenpeace protest over contaminated rice precedes Bush-Calderon meeting
in Mexico
"Mexico is not the U.S.' trash can," says environmental group

MERIDA, Mexico -- Greenpeace activists staged a mock "wedding" between
Presidents Bush and Calderón, including the throwing of genetically
engineered rice at the couple. The protest comes as the two presidents
prepared to meet to discuss trade and development, and follows the
discovery last week by Greenpeace that Mexican rice stocks are
contaminated with an unapproved genetically engineered variety from the
United States. Greenpeace is demanding that the Mexican government
suspend the import of genetically contaminated rice. A banner that was
unfurled over the wedding altar read "Until Independence Do Us Part."

"We call on President Calderón to use this meeting with President Bush
tomorrow to make clear that the commercial relationship between Mexico
and the U.S. should not imply that Mexico will silently accept the
genetically engineered food that is rejected by other countries," said
Gustavo Ampugnani, anti-genetic engineering campaigner with Greenpeace
Mexico. "Mexico is not the dumping ground for the U.S. genetic
engineering experiment, and the relationship Mexico has with the U.S.
should not be one of submission, nor one that allows rice into our
country that other nations are rejecting," he added.

The mock wedding comes a week after huge volumes of U.S. rice were found
to be contaminated with LLRICE601, a variety developed by Bayer
CropScience that has not been approved for consumption in Mexico. Also
late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the
discovery of another as-of-yet unidentified gene adulterating U.S. rice
supplies.

"The U.S. is clearly incapable of protecting consumers, both in the U.S.
and abroad, from the unknown effects of genetic engineering," said
Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace scientist based in the U.S. "Many countries
around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, and South Korea, have
all clearly told the United States that they will not accept their
contaminated rice. Mexico should do the same."

The contaminated rice has been found in rice supplies throughout the
southern U.S., and the LLRICE601 contamination scandal, which began in
August 2006, has been the worst crisis for the U.S. rice industry in
recent memory. The USA Rice Federation has adopted an emergency plan to
keep the contamination from next year's harvest, although the bulk of
the 2006 harvest is yet to be sold. With the discovery last week of
further unidentified contamination, the USDA has taken the unprecedented
step of ordering a ban on sales and planting of contaminated rice seed
and the uprooting of rice that has already been planted.

Mexico is currently the largest export market for U.S. rice. Last week,
Greenpeace Mexico activists staged a demonstration at the Ministry of
Health's headquarters demanding action to stop the import of
contaminated rice.


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                                  PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Greenpeace investigation reveals U.S. source of genetic
contamination in Mexican rice
SOURCE: Greenpeace, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press/releases/greenpeace-
investigation-revea-4
DATE:   09.03.2007
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Greenpeace investigation reveals U.S. source of genetic contamination in
Mexican rice
Mexicans eating rice variety unapproved for human consumption

WASHINGTON, United States -- Greenpeace laboratory results reveal that
U.S. rice being sold in the Mexican supermarkets Chedraui and Soriana is
contaminated with an unapproved genetically engineered variety. The
unapproved variety, called LLRICE601 and developed by Bayer CropScience,
has been at the center of a global contamination scandal since August
2006. The experimental rice was last grown in 2001, but neither Bayer
nor the U.S. government has yet been able to explain how the
contamination happened. The contamination scandal was compounded this
week when the USDA announced the discovery of another as of yet
unidentified gene adulterating U.S. rice supplies.

"Our worst fears have been confirmed: we are eating genetically
engineered rice without even knowing it," said Gustavo Ampugnani,
genetic engineering campaigner with Greenpeace Mexico. "And even worse
is that this contamination is coming from experimental fields and has
come here illegally, since at least last August." "We know testing is
happening and segregation is possible - Europeans are demanding and
receiving uncontaminated rice. U.S. rice exporters are taking advantage
of Mexican government apathy and disposing of their adulterated rice
south of the border," he continued.

Last year, huge volumes of U.S. rice were found to be contaminated with
LLRICE601 and export destinations from Europe to Japan put in place
measures to prevent these contaminated imports. The USDA retroactively
approved the variety for cultivation in the United States (no food
approval is required in the U.S.), but the experimental variety is still
not approved for consumption in any U.S. rice export market, including
Mexico. The USA Rice Federation adopted an emergency plan to keep the
contamination from next year's harvest, but the bulk of the 2006 harvest
is still to be sold.

"These test results and the latest USDA declarations prove that
contamination isn't only possible, but is reaching epidemic proportions
in the U.S.," added Dr. Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace scientist based in
the U.S. "The U.S. regulatory system is clearly incapable of protecting
consumers here and abroad from untested and unapproved genetically
engineered varieties. The only sure way for governments around the world
to protect their citizens seems to be to stop purchasing U.S.
agricultural products."

Greenpeace is putting pressure on officials in Mexico to take action to
prevent the contaminated rice from being imported from the U.S.,
especially in light of the upcoming meeting between Presidents Felipe
Calderon and George W. Bush. More detailed information about the results
is available.


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European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

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Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

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