Row over unauthorised importation of GM maize

 A major row has blown up over the discovery of genetically modified maize in samples of animal feed imported from the US this week.             The Department of Agriculture and Food this week confirmed that GM maize Herculex Rw, which is not authorized in the EU, has been detected in samples taken from animal feed imported from the United States.             This GM Herculex Rw maize variety is authorised in a number of countries including the US and an application for its approval in the EU has been made.   The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has evaluated the application as part of the EU authorisation process and has recently given a favourable opinion.   EFSA concluded that it is unlikely that the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from GM maize Herculex Rw will have adverse effects on human or animal health or the environment. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has been consulted and they agree with EFSA’s evaluation. The application for approval will be considered on 8th June at EU Standing Committee Meeting in Brussels.             The animal feed in question (6,000 tonnes Corn Gluten Feed and 6,200 tonnes Distillers Dried Grain) was discharged at Dublin port from a ship (MV Pakrac) which went on to Rotterdam where it discharged the remainder of the animal feed cargo. The cargo of animal feed was certified as not containing GM Herculex Rw maize product. However, information was received on 7th May from the Dutch authorities that official samples taken by them had tested positive. The Department immediately arranged for samples to be taken from the animal feed off-loaded at Dublin Port and sent to the State Laboratory for analysis. The State Laboratory informed the Department on 15th May that the samples submitted had tested positive for Herculex Rw.             When the Department received the information on positive results from the Dutch authorities they immediately put in place a restriction order on the 7,000 tonnes that still remained in portal stores. In the meantime, steps have been taken to take out of circulation material that had left the portal stores. While some of the material has already been incorporated into the animal feed chain, it is unlikely, based on the EFSA evaluation, to have any adverse effects on human or animal health or the environment. In accordance with requirements under EU legislation the Department will ensure that none of the material currently under restriction will enter the feed chain. The Department has been and will remain in constant contact with the EU Commission and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on this issue.