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China Daily Website

GM corn application under review

Updated: 2013-12-09 11:37
( English.news.cn)

China is reviewing a new application to sell genetically modified (GM) corn to the country after previous ones were rejected for the reason of insufficient application material, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on Friday.

In March 2010, Swiss company Syngenta AG submitted an application to sell GM corn MIR162 and carry out environmental safety and food safety tests in China, before it went on to apply for a safety certificate for the GM corn as a raw material for processing, said MOA spokesman Bi Meijia.

Although the company applied multiple times, it failed to provide sufficient application material and experimental data. Under the principle of prudence, the MOA asked the company to submit supplementary material, Bi said.

Syngenta AG applied again in November this year and the new application is under review, the spokesman said.

Chinese authorities have been cautious with GM crops. The country's quality watchdog said last Friday that 60,000 tonnes of corn from the United States containing the unapproved MIR162 had been rejected.

Public reaction to GM products is also mixed, with concerns ranging from food safety to environmental impact, ethics to politics.

"People are concerned about GM mainly because the history of GM in China is short. They are not familiar with the technology and the promotion of it is not good enough," Bi said.

He said GM crops have been grown in countries on a large-scale for 17 years without a single case of a scientifically proven safety hazard, and the World Health Organization and United Nations deemed GM products passing tests as safe as traditional products.

China will step up efforts to promote popular science concerning GM technology and he believed doubts over GM products can be eased gradually, said the spokesman.

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