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Philippine court orders temporary halt to imports of genetically modified rice

Philippine court orders temporary halt to imports of genetically modified rice

A court has ordered a temporary hold on an application to bring genetically modified rice into the Philippines, pending a study of possible health and environment hazards, court documents and activists said Friday.
A regional trial court in suburban Quezon City issued the temporary restraining order after the environmental group Greenpeace asked it to stop Bayer Philippines Inc., the local affiliate of German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer, from introducing the LL62 rice variety.
Considering debate on genetically modified organisms, it would be prudent to restrain the company from introducing LL62 in the Philippines, where rice is a staple food, according to the order Wednesday from Judge Evangeline Castillo Marigomen.
The order prohibits the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry _ also named respondents in the case _ from approving Bayer's application for 20 days. The court set a Sept. 14 hearing on Greenpeace's petition for a preliminary injunction.
"Greenpeace believes that the pending application of a genetically altered rice to be used for food, feed and processing in our country is a very serious issue of public concern," Greenpeace campaigner Daniel Ocampo said in a statement. "The entry of GMO rice in our country will irrevocably alter the future of our most important staple food."
The petition for injunction, filed last week, questions the lack of public consultation on GMO approvals by the two government agencies, particularly in the case of Bayer LL62's application.
Last year, U.S. farmers sued Bayer's CropScience unit after its genetically modified rice LL601 contaminated regular rice in the U.S., causing rice prices to drop.
The German Agriculture Ministry also confirmed that LL601 rice was found in stores in Germany's leading supermarket chain, which removed the affected brand from its shelves. The modified rice is illegal in the European Union.
The USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with food regulators in Britain, the Netherlands and Canada, have all said that LL601 poses no harm to human health.


Updated : 2021-03-05 18:31 GMT+08:00