The USA Rice Federation is pleased member states of the European Union have lifted the emergency measures on U.S. long-grain rice.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health voted favorably to remove the regulation adopted in late 2006, which required the testing at origin of U.S. long-grain rice for the presence of the LL601 trait. USA Rice expects the actual removal of the emergency measures will occur within 30 to 60 days of today’s announcement.

“The proposal to lift the measure followed testing by the USA Rice Federation for the 2009 crop of harvested rice, which did not detect lots containing LL Rice 601,” a spokesman for EU Health Commissioner John Dalli said in a statement.

“The removal of this regulation confirms that EU regulators recognize the continued success of the U.S. rice industry’s Seed Plan,” said Jamie Warshaw, USA Rice Federation Chairman. “This action is a testament to the hard work over many years of the rice industry to remove the LL601 trait from the commercial supply.”

After the discovery of the unapproved genetically-engineered LL601 trait in late 2006, the U.S. rice industry established a standard seed testing protocol to eliminate the presence of LL601 from the U.S. long-grain rice supply. U.S. rice exports to the EU effectively stopped due to the EU’s zero tolerance of unapproved GE traits.

“U.S. long-grain rice has slowly been moving back into the EU market, but we still have more work to do to return to trade levels enjoyed before the 2006 event,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO. “While USA Rice members led the effort that brought today’s success, which will benefit all segments of the U.S. rice industry, we must also thank USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Kirk and their staffs for working to remove the emergency measures.”