Soybean Imports Revive Fears About GM Food

Although China’s push for genetically modified food was undermined last year by controversy over the use of children in GM golden rice trials, the Ministry of Agriculture recently approved the import of three more strains of GM soybeans. The swiftness of the decision aroused more public concern over food safety and sparked widespread criticisms on weibo. CDT’s Olivia Rosenman reports at South China Morning Post:

A day after Xinhua reported the approvals, theNational Business Daily ran a front-page story headlined “Doubt and suspicions over GM soya beans: did the government approve import at lightning speed?”

The report said the ministry did not get the safety certificate for the RR2 soya bean until as late as May 20, less than three weeks before imports were approved.

[...] Many internet users criticised the decision. One microblogger wrote that agriculture officials were happy to feed ordinary people GM food “because the food they eat is provided specially for them and is genuine green food”.

“Of course they swear that GM food is safe to eat, but they’re letting ordinary people become laboratory rats,” the post, later deleted by censors, continued.

[...] Another microblogger suggested government officials take the lead by eating GM foods themselves. “In a few years you can be the proof they are safe!” [Source]

A draft proposal of a grain law was released early last year to regulate research, production, and sale of genetically modified grain seeds, but nothing has been heard of the law since.