Brussels, 24th October - Friends of the Earth Europe has welcomed the decision to test all rice imports from the United States for genetically modified material before allowing them to enter the EU. EU member states voted for the tougher controls in a meeting of national food experts yesterday. 
Reacting to the decision, Adrian Bebb, GM Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said, "Mandatory testing of all rice imports from the United States for illegal genetically modified material is absolutely vital since there have now been around eighty cases of contamination across Europe in the past six weeks."
But the environmental campaign group has warned that contamination is likely not only in American rice imports, but in imports from all countries that conduct outdoor experimental GM trials. Indeed, rice products imported from China have already been found to be contaminated with an illegal genetically modified variant.  Friends of the Earth Europe has demanded that the new strict protocols are extended to all crops imported from countries that test genetically modified crops outdoors.
"Compulsory testing of all foods imported from countries that experiment with genetically modified crops outdoors should urgently be introduced. This includes imports from China. Chinese rice has already been shown to be contaminated, although the European Commission has so far failed to take action and seems to prioritise its trading relationship with China over protecting consumers," Mr Bebb added.
 The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health met yesterday (Monday October 23rd) in Brussels.
 Friends of the Earth Europe press release from 5th September 2006 following the discovery of GM contamination of Chinese foods: