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Greenpeace finds gene-modified rice in Aldi stores

Rice packages branded Bon-Ri that Aldi Group, Germany's biggest discounter, sells in its northern German stores contain a long-grain rice variety known as LLRice, Amsterdam-based Greenpeace, an environmental group, said on its Web site on Tuesday. Aldi removed Bon-Ri rice from its stores yesterday, according to a spokeswoman for the retailer. The Greenpeace report follows emergency action last month by the European Union requiring US exporters to certify their long-grain rice shipments are free of a gene-modified variety made by Bayer CropScience AG. The unapproved rice, field-tested from 1998 to 2001, was found in US samples of the 2005 crop. „Our customers can return rice they've already bought and get their money back if they're in any way concerned about the product's safety,” said the Aldi spokeswoman, who declined to be named. The company is conducting its own analysis of Bon-Ri rice, she said in a telephone conversation. The rice was sold to Aldi by Reiskontor Handels-GmbH, a unit of Hamburg-based Euryza GmbH, according to the Greenpeace study. Euryza, which also sells Oryza and reis-fit brands of rice, is examining the matter and plans to publish a statement on Tuesday, the company said on its Web site. Importing unauthorized gene-modified goods is illegal in the 25-nation EU. Last year, the EU blocked US imports of corn animal feed for 10 days after Syngenta AG said it accidentally sold an experimental engineered corn that was planted on 37,000 acres in four US states. (Bloomberg)