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China issues draft law for GM foods

By Ankush Chibber , 23-Feb-2012

Stung by the growing concerns in the China over genetically modified (GM) foods, the Chinese government has issued a draft law that will govern the entire chain of such foods.

Under the proposed draft law, China has said that it would ban the production, trade, and sale of any GM foods that do not have correct authorisation.

"No institutionor individual should apply genetic modification technology to main grain breeds without authorisation," the draft said.

The draft requires that all activities related to GM seeds, including scientific research, fieldtrials, production, sales, imports and exports, be carried out in accordance with the country's rules.

The draft law was issued on February 21 by the State Council of China, in the wake of growing concerns in local media over the safety of GM foods.

The concerns are rooted from bio safety certificated being given to two strains of GM rice and corn in 2009 by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Though the two strains are five years off comercialisation according to Chinese authorities, there has been growing activism against the move from green and health groups.

Safeguarding standards in production

Under the draft law, Chinese authorities are going to set standards for safeguarding the production of GM foods.

Investments will need to be made by producers in improving storage conditions.

Processing GM grain that has been exposed to pesticides or any other contaminants will also be forbidden, as well as transporting them in contaminated vehicles or packaging materials.

Authorties will also regulate the production, trade and sale of edible vegetable oil with GM ingredients, as it is a daily consumable in China.

To Ensure there is no ambiguity about the authorities being in charge of enforcing the regulations, the draft made clear that provincial governments would be in charge of enforcing the laws across the supply chain of GM foods.

In an apparent move to also squash noises against GM foods and ensure market order, the draft also stated that authorities would ban traders and other professionals who spread rumours, cheat customers, manipulate prices or monopolise the market.

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