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  GM appears in African aid

Tuesday 28 November 2006
cropsA variety of GM rice not authorised for human consumption has been found in food aid supplies in West Africa, it has been reported. The presence of the US-produced rice, which was revealed by Friends of the Earth at press conferences in Sierra Leone and Ghana, has led to calls for recalls of the imports and tighter controls on food aid to prevent contamination.

"We are shocked that unapproved genetically modified long grain rice has been sent to our country through food aid channels," commented Arthur Williams, from Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone. "We are a nation just recovering from years of civil war and now to attack us in this manner is now making our people once more vulnerable."

Ghana is among the largest importers of rice from the US, and the discovery of unauthorised GMOs in the supply has sparked fears of widespread contamination.

"We cannot accept a situation when food aid becomes a secret channel to ambush our peoples with illegal genetically modified food. We refuse to be used as guinea pigs in big business's experimentations," added Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth Africa. "With the confirmation of this contamination, it is very likely that a large number of African countries are already contaminated. Africa is facing a lot of challenges and cannot afford to add this man-made problem. It must be halted at its roots."

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