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Ferris: Illegal GM Rice imports highlight inadequacy of safeguards

6 September, 2006


The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Martin Ferris TD has said that the latest evidence on illegal genetically modified rice imports, from China, proves the total inadequacy of EU safeguards. A study by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth found traces of a GM protein that has been found to cause allergic reactions, and which is unauthorised for use in any country. On foot of the findings, the EU Commission yesterday accused food importers of not taking sufficient precautions to ensure that such products are not placed on the market. Member states are to report before next Monday on the measures they have in place to step up controls.

The Kerry North TD said: “This study proves a number of things. Firstly, that the alleged safeguards in place within the EU are totally inadequate to prevent the import of GM food products. The presence of the substance in question was discovered by NGOs, not the EU, nor any of the companies importing the products.

“Secondly, that the situation regarding GM rice in China proves that safeguarding against contamination of conventional crops is impossible. Unscrupulous companies have no qualms in deliberately promoting contamination or in attempting to export products which contain substances such as the GM protein that have been conclusively proven to be unsafe for human consumption.

“It is clear, therefore, that the only way in which to prevent the danger both to human health and conventional crops is to institute a ban on the import of GM food products and the growing of GM crops. If the EU is not prepared to re-impose such a ban then the Irish Government should have the courage to follow the example of regional and local authorities throughout Europe, including Ireland, in declaring the territory under its responsibility to be GM free.”

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