Food firms urged to help monitor imports of Chinese rice
ensure that Chinese rice and products made from that rice being
used in the UK do not contain the unauthorised GM Bt63.
Following the announcement earlier today, an agency spokesperson told FoodProductionDaily.com that all links in the food chain are responsible for ensuring food produced in the UK is safe and abides by national and EC food regulations. Although the FSA said it is not currently aware of any specific health risks associated with consuming Bt63, it is an unauthorised genetically modified organism so should not be sold in the EU. The FSA has issued an 'action alert' in response to an emergency measures adopted by the EC which will come into effect from 15 April 2008. After 15 April 2008, products originating in or consigned from China with certain CN codes may only be placed on the EU market if they have an official analytical report which confirms that the product does not contain, consist of, or is not produced from Bt63. In separate advice to the port authorities, the FSA says that in the absence of an analytical report the food business operator is required to have the products tested under the supervision of the relevant food safety authority. Random sampling is also required by Member States on products presented for importation or already on the market. Advice to food businesses On 28 March the FSA issued advice to certain food operators and trade associations. This included that from 15 April food business operators should inform local food safety authorities if GM rice has left their possession and initiate procedures to withdraw it and to recall it if the product has reached customers. The FSA is also asking food operators to notify the Agency if they believe they have taken possession of contaminated rice and to let them know about negative test results. This will give an indication of the extent to which Bt63 is present in rice and rice products and help inform discussions. Advice to food safety authorities Authorities (environmental health services and trading standards) have been told that they will have to consider appropriate measures when executing and enforcing the regulations, and they might find it helpful to seek guidance from local food business operators as to whether any of their products are likely to be implicated. Samples of rice or rice products to be analysed will be submitted for analysis via the Public Analyst network. National Legislation EnglandNational legislation for England, to implement the Commission decision, will be submitted for Ministerial consideration during the week starting 14 April 2008. The legislation is titled The Specified Products from China (Restriction on First Placing on the market) (England) Regulations 2008.