The Agriculture Ministry in Japan announced expanded testing of U.S. rice Thursday for an unapproved genetically modified strain. Japan previously tested only long-grain rice for the GMO strain, but citing a lack of proof from the U.S. that short- and medium-grain rice are free from contamination, the ministry will test them as well.
The genetically engineered rice, Bayer CropScience's LLRice 601, includes a protein known as Liberty Link which allows the crop to withstand applications of an herbicide used to kill weeds.
The ministry has started testing U.S. short- and medium-grain rice stockpiled in warehouses in Japan, and has also started testing U.S. rice before shipment to Japan.
Japan has a zero-tolerance policy on imports of unapproved GMO crops, and importers of crops tainted with unapproved GMO must destroy them or ship them back to exporting countries.
The Agriculture Ministry acts as a rice importer in Japan, as rice is the nation's staple food.