High profile dispute over GMO safety shines spotlight on China’s biotech handwringing

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A dispute between two state-run newspapers over an interview has highlighted China’s unabated fear of genetically modified food.

Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, has called (link in Chinese) an interview published in a provincial newspaper “seriously misleading” because of the interviewee’s opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“In recent years, China’s top scientific, medical and military medical research institutions have reached the conclusion that genetically modified soybeans are unsafe, so we should pay attention,” Wang Xiaoyu, deputy secretary of the Heilongjiang Soybean Association, said (link in Chinese) in an interview that appeared Thursday in the Heilongjiang Daily.

But Wang’s statements are untrue, and there is no evidence that GMO products approved for sale around the world pose safety risks, the Science and Technology Daily editorial said.

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Related article:  M.S. Swaminathan, 'father of India’s Green Revolution,' says he's not opposed to GMO crops

The Chinese government has supported GMO development projects, producing modified strains of rice and corn. The country also imports a substantial amount of GMO soybeans each year, mostly for use in animal feed and vegetable oil. But the entry of these products into the massive Chinese market and onto Chinese farms has faced significant pushback ….

The Chinese public continues to be wary of the products, thanks to longstanding food safety fears rooted in the country’s history of food scandals. Only 11.9% of Chinese respondents to a 2018 survey had positive views of GMO food ….

Read full, original article: Chinese State Newspapers Argue Over Genetically Modified Soybeans

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