Test on GMO rice inadequate and ‘technically invalid,’ university says

Test on GMO rice inadequate and ‘technically invalid,’ university says

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
Test on GMO rice inadequate and ‘technically invalid,’ university says

Last month, 21,000 tons rice were seized in southern Turkey under suspicion that they might contain GMOs. DHA photo

A haul of 21,000 tons of genetically modified (GMO) rice seized in southern Turkey may have been inadequately analyzed, officials announced May 8. The rectorate of Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) stated that the bio-genetic research center that performed the tests has made some mistakes during the experiment.  “The methods of experiment carried out are not suitable to assess if the GMO allegedly found in the rice was not caused by the risk of contamination. Hence, the results are technically invalid,” the statement read. 

Six people were arrested on April 9 in connection to the rice that was seized at the docks of Mersin. Following the arrests, Turkey’s Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry had dismissed allegations of any GMO food entering the country.  “Our ministry does not allow the use of GMOs in food. No trace of GMOs was detected in rice in any of our inspections,” the ministry said in a statement. 

İTÜ’s direction also said that an investigation had been launched into the person who carried out the experiments. “He has been sidelined until the end of the investigation,” the statement added.  

Hours earlier, Food and Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker had said that laboratory results were wrong. “They will probably make a statement today [May 8] or tomorrow. There is no such thing as GMO rice production in the world. There was some contamination [in this case]. It is not related to the product,” Eker said. “Nobody has the right to confuse our citizens,” he added. 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had reportedly criticized Eker and his ministry on the subject during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) consultation gathering near Ankara at the week-end. “You could have made your own experiments and announced it to the public,” Erdoğan reportedly told Eker.