San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

CONARROZ Denies Transgenic Rice Shipment

A shipment of more than 36,000 metric tons of rice headed for Costa Rica does not contain rice with a genetic modification unfit for human consumption, the National Rice Corporation (CONARROZ) announced Monday in response to concerns raised by the Social Ecology Association last week.

In a statement released Nov. 24, the association said it was warned by the environmental group Greenpeace that a shipment of rice coming from the United States on the ship Peregrine and scheduled to dock at Costa Rica’s Caldera Port, on the central Pacific coast, Dec. 8, is “contaminated” with a transgenic variety of rice called Liberty Link 601 (LL601) that “has not been approved for human consumption by any regulatory agency.”

CONARROZ responded Monday, saying the shipment of rice was inspected by one of its quality control officials before it departed from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States and the exporting company ADM Rice analyzed its shipment, and both assure it does not contain LL601.

These assurances were not enough for the environmentalist association, who issued a second statement saying the certification from the U.S. company is not convincing.

The statement points out that the European Union does not accept certifications from U.S. export companies, as many certified exports have arrived to European ports with transgenic rice.

The association reiterated its demand that the Costa Rican government not allow the rice to be unloaded until it was tested for LL601 in a reliable laboratory and with association representatives present.

The association noted that CONARROZ had previously asked the Costa Rican government

“to take actions to avoid the importation” of LL601 as have Japan and the European Union.

According to an article published Saturday in the U.S. daily Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared LL601 – produced by U.S.-based Bayer CropScience – safe for human consumption Nov. 24.


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