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Business News Thu, 31 Aug 2006

CAG raises concern about GM rice in Ghana

Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - The Consumers Association of Ghana (CAG) on Thursday raised concern about reports that a type of US long grain rice had been contaminated by an unapproved genetically modified strain of rice and asked the Government to take action to save the Ghanaian consumer.
A statement signed by CAG President, Professor Ferdinand Tay in Accra noted that some civil society in West Africa had expressed concern about Ghana being one of the top 10 importers of rice from the US and could, therefore, be a source of contamination of food supplies in the whole West Africa Sub-Region.
"The CAG, therefore, calls on the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to suspend immediately the importation of US long grain rice into Ghana by invoking the 'precautionary principle' as has been done by Japan and the European Union."
The statement said this measure should be put in place until the matter had been thoroughly investigated to determine whether the contaminated rice was available in Ghana.
The CAG said in order to protect the health and safety of Ghanaian consumers and environment, the Ghana Standards Board and Food and Drugs Board should ensure that, in line with their legal mandate to protect consumers, the contaminated rice was not placed on the market for unsuspecting Ghanaians to purchase and consume.
It said the Ghana Standards Board and Food and Drugs Board must immediately conduct the necessary investigations to assure Ghanaians that the US long grain rice currently on the market was not contaminated; otherwise all the contaminated rice should be withdrawn from the market.
"The CAG would like to advise all consumers that in the interest of their own health and safety, they should not patronise the artificial rice."
It said the Company that developed the rice indicated that it was only on an experimental basis.
CAG, therefore, asked Ghanaians to patronise local rice, which was safe, nutritious and delicious.

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Source: GNA
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