BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – Greenpeace found genetically modified corn illegally entering the European Union during tests this month on a U.S. shipment in the Dutch port of Rotterdam, the environmental campaign group said Monday.
Greenpeace urged the EU executive to act immediately to confiscate the cargo and temporarily suspend all imports of U.S. agricultural produce that could contain unauthorized genetically modified content.
European Commission spokesman Michael Mann said the EU had no intention of imposing a blanket ban on such U.S. agricultural imports, and that it was up to Dutch authorities to take action by logging any illegal corn.
Wary of public health and environmental concerns, the EU allows only genetically modified food and animal feed that has been evaluated and authorized to be placed on the EU market.
Greenpeace said the illegal corn samples came from a ship moored in Rotterdam harbor on April 10. The ship, which had also docked in Ireland, claimed it was carrying GM-free corn from the United States, the group said.
A laboratory found that samples from the shipment contained two unauthorized types of genetically engineered maize – Herculex(R) RW 59122, developed by Pioneer and Dow Agrosciences to be resistant to rootworm pests, and Monsanto’s MON863, which is currently being tested by the European Food Safety Authority, Greenpeace said.
”This is the fourth time in the past two years that illegal, unapproved genetically modified organisms enter the European market,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
In October, EU nations stepped up testing for all U.S. long-grain rice imports after two banned GM strain called Liberty Link Rice 601 and LL Rice 62 were accidentally imported from the U.S. Costs were borne by exporters.