Whether it’s a political, anti-GMO radical or zealot government inspired campaign against individuals in Turkey, the harsh reality is that businessmen involved with importing food products were arrested because of links to 21,000 tons of what was claimed to be genetically modified (GM) rice seized in the southern province of Mersin, Turkey.

Confusion by news media reports has from three to six arrested last week, but no word has hit the internet about the situation of those individuals arrested. But reports indicate prisoners are being held while “prosecutors investigate” the cases.

The news media did a follow-up report of another claim of GM foods being seized in a northwestern Turkish province. Turkey’s Customs and Trade Ministry is the one making the announcements.

But it is understood that the Consumer Rights Association filed the original claim that several different genetically modified organism (GMO) products that “jeopardize people’s health are being imported” into Turkey. Rice from the U.S. was the association’s target for complaint, even though GM rice is not approved for production in the U.S. or traded anywhere in the world.

A spokesman for one of three companies whose imported rice was seized due to GMO allegations, said testing showed that GMO traces were found at only four parts in 10,000 of the rice, and it was caused by soybean contamination that entered the rice during transport, not the actual rice kernels.   

Turkey officially imported $12 billion of food and feed products from producer countries between 2008 and 2012, according to a statement by the Consumer Rights Association. Of the total, about half of these imports came from the U.S., which is recognized as one of the biggest GM crop producers in the world and, therefore, targeted by anti-GMO organizations for checking U.S. imports.

As shown by this situation, Turkey has harsh laws against the importing of GM foods.