China considers mandatory labelling for GM food

22 December 2014 (Last Updated December 22nd, 2014 18:30)

Chinese lawmakers are considering revision of the country’s Food Safety Law by including the mandatory labelling of all goods containing genetically modified (GM) organisms.

Chinese lawmakers are considering revision of the country's Food Safety Law by including the mandatory labelling of all goods containing genetically modified (GM) organisms.

When issued, the draft revision would require GM foods to be labelled according to regulations covering their processes of production and sales.

The details of the proposed labelling procedure have not yet been specified.

Meanwhile, the government has recently approved the import of GM crops from the US, in a move to seek cooperation from Washington for the export of high-tech products to China.

Switzerland-based global agribusiness Syngenta said on 22 December that it has received a safety certificate from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture for its Viptera corn, known as MIR 162.

"Previously, China also approved the import of DuPont Pioneer's biotech soybeans."

The approval would include corn grain and processing byproducts that will be used as food and feed.

Syngenta's announcement was followed by the announcement of Germany-based Bayer CropScience, which said that it received approval for its GM soybean variety known as LL55 Liberty Link from Chinese regulatory authorities on December 19.

Previously, China also approved the import of DuPont Pioneer's biotech soybeans.

The China Daily quoted Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Rural Development deputy director Li Guoxiang as saying that the change in the country's opinion had come about due to an improvement in Sino-US political ties.

Guoxiang said: "The loosening of controls on GM grains by China may lead the US Government to lower criteria on the exports of some high-tech products to China."

The newspaper further quoted a biotechnology researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Huang Dafang, as saying that China already had labelling regulations of GM foods in place, but they are only administrative regulations and not laws.