FAO survey shows rise in GMO contamination incidents

| March 13, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-rice-field-image15738476The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has reported the results of a survey of low-level GMO contamination incidents in traded food and feed products.

The survey obtained responses from 75 of the 193 FAO member countries and the results showed that there were 198 incidents where low-levels of GM crops were found mixed with non-GM crops between 2002 and 2012. The majority of the reported incidents (138) occurred between 2009 and 2012, suggesting that the problem is growing as GM crops are being more widely cultivated.

Most of the contaminated shipments originated from the USA, Canada and China, although the survey found that other countries were also involved. The most likely crops to contain low-level GMOs were linseed, rice, maize and papaya. The survey revealed that 26 countries had blocked imports after detecting trace levels of GMOs.

FAO Senior Food Safety Officer Renata Clarke commented, “We were surprised to see incidents from every region. It seems the more testing and more monitoring they do, the more incidents they find.” However, 37 out of the 75 countries surveyed reported that they did not have the resources to routinely test food shipments for GMOs.

More information about the survey can be found here.

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