The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Chinese Populace Rejects GM Foods

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Corn is harvested at a farm in Shandong province, Sept. 28, 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

The resistance to genetically modified foods by the populace is consistent in almost every country where they are “literally” trying to ram it down people’s throats.  Here’s an article about the uncertain fate of GM food imports into China posted in Want China Times:

In November of 2013, China rejected imports of 600,000 tonnes of US-grown corn on the grounds they it was a genetically modified food not approved in China.
Since then, more than 400,000 tonnes of US corn has been turned away by Chinese authorities for the same reason.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg in China where genetically modified food has been a fiercely debated issue, and not one that will be resolved soon.
In July, 2013, 61 top Chinese scientists appealed to Chinese leaders to facilitate the commercialization of GM rice.
Around the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture attempted to convince the public of the safety of GM foods through state-run newspapers and news agencies, stating that no harmful side-effects had been reported for GM foods that had been stored for more than two decades.
This argument, however, could not silence those who doubt GM food’s safety because they claim that the lack of reports that GM is unsafe do not mean the foods are safe for human consumption or the environment. Some critics also expressed concerns that China’s dependence on imported GM foods would jeopardize its security, especially in the event of any conflicts with food producing countries.

They also branded GM foods as potential biological weapons that could be used by foreign countries against China.
These commentators might be surprised to learn that China was one of the pioneers in this field, especially when it comes to GM rice, which is a staple food in the country.
GM food technologies were employed to help food resist insects and cut down on the use of pesticides, the impact of which is very real for the environment.
This has not swayed the opinion of opponents of GM foods, however, as they do not have much confidence in China’s opaque decision-making process, controlled by bureaucrats rather than the general public.
This has delayed the commercialization of GM foods in China, although notable exceptions would be the Ministry of Agriculture’s grant of biological safety certificates to two strains of rice and one strain of corn in 2009, although none of these GM foods were approved for mass production before their certificates expired this year.
The Chinese government’s delay in commercializing GM foods had dampened researchers’ enthusiasm for the field, as Chinese spending on genetic engineering decreased from 2 billion yuan (US$323 million) in 2010 to 400 million yuan (US$64 million) in 2014, said Ke Bingsheng, president of China Agricultural University.

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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