GENET archive


APPROVAL: Mexico search for GMO rice in US imports still on

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Mexico search for GMO rice in US imports still on
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   29.03.2007

Mexico search for GMO rice in US imports still on

MEXICO CITY - Mexico will not let its guard down in the search for
unauthorized genetically modified material in rice imports from the
United States, a top government biosecurity official said on Tuesday.

Marco Antonio Meraz, who heads Mexico's biosecurity commission, said all
shipments of US rice were required to show certification they contained
no genetically modified material.

"Under our legislation genetic material must be authorized before
entering the country," he said. Mexico permits no GMO rice strains.

He said health officials also were taking samples from some rice
shipments to ensure exporters were telling the truth.

Meraz also said the government was in the final stages of analyzing a
request by Bayer Cropscience to authorize its LLRICE62 strain of GMO rice.

"It is very probable this analysis is concluded quickly," Meraz told
Reuters. "Once that is done, this material will be approved in Mexico."

Earlier this month, Mexico temporarily halted several US rice shipments
at its border after the LLRICE601 strain contaminated the US commercial

The United States and Mexico have been in talks over testing procedures
and tolerance levels for genetically modified material in rice shipments.

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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  USDA clarifies policy on low-level presence of genetically
        engineered material
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   27.03.2007

USDA clarifies policy on low-level presence of genetically engineered material

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2007-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service is clarifying the existing approach
for handling situations in which regulated genetically engineered (GE)
plant material becomes mixed at low levels with commercial seeds and
grain. This policy is not new, but rather a description of how APHIS
currently evaluates and responds to these incidents. In light of
continuing international discussions regarding low-level presence (LLP),
APHIS is taking this opportunity to formally state our approach.

One of APHIS' roles is to protect plant health by overseeing the
importation, movement and field testing of regulated GE material. A
major focus is ensuring appropriate confinement of such material in
field tests. Developers must comply with all APHIS regulations and
permit conditions to prevent the release of regulated GE material.
However, when LLP incidents occur, the agency's policy is to respond
with actions appropriate to the level of risk, determined by a
scientific assessment and warranted by the facts in each case. APHIS
will initiate an inquiry whenever regulated material is mixed with
commercial seeds or grain to evaluate any risk, to determine the
circumstances surrounding the release and to determine whether remedial
and/or enforcement actions may be appropriate.

If APHIS determines that an incident involving regulated GE plant
material could pose a risk to plant health or the environment, APHIS
will take appropriate remedial steps using its authority under the Plant
Protection Act. In cases in which APHIS determines that remedial action
is not necessary to mitigate LLP of regulated GE plant material to
protect plant health and the environment, APHIS is not precluded from
taking enforcement action against a company or individual for violations
of APHIS regulations. A 2002 U.S. Office of Science and Technology
Policy Federal Register notice outlined proposed actions to be taken by
the three agencies that provide regulatory oversight of the development
of GE organisms--APHIS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)--aimed at strengthening
the controls to prevent low levels of regulated materials from GE plants
from occurring in commercial seeds and grain until appropriate safety
standards have been met.

APHIS, in 2003, strengthened its field testing requirements for crops
that produce pharmaceutical or industrial compounds to ensure that
regulated materials from these plants are not found, even at low levels,
in commercial seeds and grain. APHIS also initiated a process to

amend its biotechnology regulations in 2004. In 2006, FDA published a
Federal Register notice and guidance document for early food safety
assessments and EPA published a Federal Register notice clarifying its
guidance for field testing of plant-incorporated protectants (pesticides
intended to be produced and used in a living plant). This clarification
is consistent with those documents.

APHIS oversees the development and introduction (importation, interstate
movement and environmental release) of GE organisms. The agency is
committed to ensuring safety in the oversight of field tests and other
activities involving GE plants. APHIS' approach is to apply
precautionary measures to such activities which are commensurate with
the risks posed by these crop varieties. This allows for research and
development activities to take place, so that potential benefits can be
realized, while still protecting agriculture, the environment and the public.

Notice of this policy document is scheduled for publication in the March
29, 2007 Federal Register.

To view the policy, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://, select "Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service"
from the agency drop-down menu; then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID
column, select APHIS-2006-0167 to view supporting and related materials
available electronically. The policy may also be viewed at APHIS'
biotechnology regulatory services website at

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