Thursday, November 30, 2006

Contaminated rice dumped in Freetown

America, Vietnam, Canada and Argentina, according to report, have exported quantities of bags of contaminated rice to Sierra Leone for consumption. This disclosure was made by Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) through Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone (FOESL), at a press briefing over the weekend at the Robert Street Community Centre, in order to sensitize press men and the general public on the awkward development.

Speaking, Executive Director – FOESL, Olatunde Johnson, revealed that they are launching the result of the sample-testing of the Genetically Modified (GM) rice now dumped in Sierra Leone. This sample-test on the importation of GM rice, Johnson said, was done in September, this year, when news of rice contamination broke out in Europe and West Africa. He further disclosed that they have discovered that rice imported into Sierra Leone from America, Vietnam and other notorious countries was contaminated because it is genetically modified rice.

The Executive Director said rice currently brought by the World Food Programme (WFP), USAID and other rice importing agencies were all contaminated and unfit for human consumption. He said the big brother USA long-grain rice, with contract No. Vepd 05068 and the liberty link 601 were examples of rice found to be contaminated by an Independent Laboratory in the Diaspora, named withheld.

Arthur Williams, the pillar of Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone, in his contribution, said though rice is the staple food of this country, they were not, however, ready to see the country being used to dump contaminated food items for its citizens. He charged that genetically modified rice has been banned in Japan, Ghana and many other countries. According to Williams, the samples tested were taken from Kissy Road Market, which included the China rice, the Vietnam milled rice and the long-grain US rice.

He informed that The Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone comprises eleven countries fighting against the consumption of GM foods, which they believe, is not good food human health.