Food Law News - EU - 2008

FSA News Item, 25 March 2008

GM FOOD - Update on US GM rice

The Food Standards Agency has written to enforcement authorities [see letter below] and other stakeholders to inform them that the emergency measures controlling the import of rice products from the United States, which have been in place since 2006, have been amended.

From now on each consignment of US rice must be certified free from the unauthorised GM rice, according to the same test method that is used by enforcement authorities in the EU. At the same time, the need for duplicate sampling and testing of every consignment at the point of entry to the EU has been removed.

These amendments were agreed by European Member States in December and came into force at the end of February. The requirement for duplicate testing was introduced in November 2006 when the EU and USA authorities failed to agree on a common testing method that would ensure a high degree of consistency and accuracy between tests carried out at the point of export and in the EU. Now that agreement on the test method has been reached, the need for duplicate testing has been removed.

The European Food Safety Authority has said that the contamination of US rice with this GM material is not likely to cause an imminent safety concern.

LA Letter (ENF/E/08/020), 19 March 2008


This letter is addressed to food enforcement authorities in England only.

Further to my letter of 5 November 2006, reference ENF/E/06/080, I am writing to advise you that the Commission has issued updated emergency measures on imports of rice from the USA .

Commission Decision 2006/601/EC (as amended) required the sampling and testing on import of all consignments of rice from the USA .. Decision 2008/162/EC, which further amends Decision 2006/601/EC was published in the Commission's Official Journal on 27 February 2008 and I attach here a link:

This amendment (a) adapts the certification requirements for consignments of long grain rice from the USA and (b) removes the previous requirement for mandatory sampling and testing of these consignments at the point of import into the EU. Article 2 as amended by Decision 2008/162/EC sets out the conditions for sampling and testing long grain rice shipments from the USA and documents that need to accompany consignments.

Article 3 as amended by Decision 2008/162/EC provides for random sampling/analysis at UK ports.

The revision does not alter the obligations regarding the measures to be taken regarding products on the market, as described in my earlier letter.

However, Article 3 includes a new requirement for Member States to submit a report to the Commission of all analytical results obtained from official controls. This report is to be submitted by 26 July and the Food Standards Agency will need to receive results from enforcement authorities by 19 July. We will issue a reminder nearer the time.

The Commission will review the updated emergency measures by 26 August 2008 at the latest.

UK implementation

Commission Decision 2008/162/EC has been implemented into English law by SI 2008 No. 622 The Rice Products from the United States of America (Restriction on First Placing on the Market) (England) Regulations 2008. These Regulations can be downloaded at:

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