Safety watchdog pulls unauthorised GM rice

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has said that a rice product that tested positive for a genetically modified rice variety — Bt63 — which is not authorised for sale in the country, has been withdrawn.

Following the discovery of unauthorised GM rice in Chinese rice imports by the European Commission and the UK Food Standards Agency earlier this year, NZFSA began testing a range of products available in New Zealand.

The food safety watchdog took 14 samples of the types of products that triggered the European Commission’s crackdown on Chinese rice imports. Of these samples one product — imported — contained trace quantities of Bt63.

The NZFSA said that it does not believe the GM rice is a threat to health, but confirmed that appropriate steps have been taken to remove the product from the market.

“NZFSA is looking at ways that compliance can best be demonstrated by importers and is also exploring a range of additional options for ensuring that New Zealand requirements are met in future,” the agency said in a statement.

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