Provisional translation

August 19, 2006
Ministry f Health, Labour and Welfare
Office of Import Food Safety
Director H. Michino
Contact M.Kaichi, K.Tsurumi

Contamination by the US transgenic rice whose safety has not been examined yet

The US Government announced that a small amount of the transgenic rice LLRICE601 has been detected in commercial rice in the United States and there is a possibility that the rice is distributed in the US market. The Japanese Government has decided to take the measures given below.
  Note: The transgenic rice in question is a long-grain cultivar. In the national trade program, Japan imports middle- and short-grain cultivars.

1. The Government of Japan will request the US Government through the US Embassy in Japan to:
  ・Carry out thorough management to prevent the export of transgenic rice that is not approved by Japan.
  ・Provide detailed information of Production, distribution, and methods of inspection regarding LLRICE601 contamination.

2. The MHLW, through the quarantine stations, directs importers to refrain from importing US long-grain rice until examination system for LLRICE601 will be set up.

3. Regarding US rice already imported out of the national trade program, the MHLW, through the local governments, directs rice distributors and processors to confirm that it is not a long-grain cultivate, and not to sell or process it until examination system will be set up, if it is a long-grain cultivate.

Reference information
1. According to the joint announcement of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bayer Crop Science has reported that LLRICE601 was detected in US commercial long-grain rice.

The agencies mention that the safety of the protein expressed in the LLRICE601 has been confirmed in another transgenic food crop and the contamination by LLRICE601 is unlikely to cause food safety problems.

*LLRICE601 is a cultivar that expresses protein resistant to the herbicide gluphosinate ammonium (a cultivar of herbicide (gluphosinate ammonium) tolerance). It is not commercialized.

2. Web sites
The US Embassy in Japan:

3. Rice import from the US from January 1, 2006 to August 18, 2006
Brown, milled, and shredded rice: 235,000 ton
Processed foods mainly made of rice, such as rice powder: 17,000 ton