In a recent development, EU countries are testing all U.S. long grain rice imports to ensure that these varieties have not been genetically modified illegally. Each and every U.S. consignment would be tested to ensure that the variety is absolutely safe. The new rules would be implemented in a few days. The EU nations have taken the action after it was reported that a banned genetically modified long grain rice strain called Liberty Link Rice 601 might have landed up in the consignment headed towards EU countries. These tests had to be done as both U.S. and EU had failed to agree on how to check whether the rice being imported was legal or not. The cost of testing would have to be borne by the exporter.
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The rice traders don’t seem to be comfortable with Indian government plans of conducting field trials of GM rice as they feel it could have an impact on millions of farmers in the country. They fear that these trials could lead to the contamination of the seeds and have a dampening effect on the confidence of the consumers and dent the reputation of India as a reliable exporter of rice. They have stated their concern after the EU started testing all the long grain rice shipments from U.S after it came to light that imports from U.S were contaminated with GM rice. GM rice is banned in around twenty five countries in Europe. India had been conducting field trials of short grain rice since the year 2005 but it was only last month that Supreme Court had banned from conducting any more fresh trials. I think the traders are right on their part and the government should study the situation in depth before proceeding with the trials.