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China Daily Website

China cultivates plans to boost grain output

Updated: 2013-12-07 09:15
By Zhao Huanxin and Zhong Nan ( China Daily)

GMO concerns

Also at the news conference, Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Bi Meijia said authorities are reviewing a new application to import genetically modified corn after previous ones were rejected because of insufficient application material.

In March 2010, Swiss company Syngenta AG submitted an application for a permit to import MIR162 (genetically modified corn), and did environmental and food safety tests in China before applying for a safety certificate for the corn, used as a raw material for processing, he said.

"After an evaluation by our country's biosafety committee, we judged their testing data and related materials to be incomplete and that problems still existed," he said.

Syngenta re-applied in November, and the new application is now under review, the spokesman said.

In response to a question about recent media reports that the ministry's own kindergarten and canteen were genetically modified organism free, Bi said the ministry in fact purchased all its food products from regular supermarkets and wholesale produce markets.

The public's concerns about GMO derive from the fact that China's GMO development is still at an early stage and people lack knowledge about the technology, Bi said.

Therefore public awareness should be enhanced, the spokesman said.

Li Changping, president of the Beijing-based China New Rural Planning and Design Institute, said that since having a sufficient grain supply is essential to China's development, the country should expand its agricultural biotechnology exchanges with the world's leading agricultural developers.

"China has already adopted genetically modified technology for cotton yields, and the effect on health and yield has been positive. GMO crops can increase yields, especially in developing nations," Li said.

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