According to a report released yesterday by GMWatch, China destroyed three shipments of GM corn imported from the US.
The first two shipments are referenced on the website of the Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, confirming that two illegal GM corn shipments entered Wanzai Port in Zhuhai City on May 7th, and were subsequently destroyed:
Recently, during inspection and quarantine of imported food from USA by a certain company, the Wanzai Office of Zhuhai Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (in Guangdong Province in the south of China) detected two shipments containing GM corn products, which are not in compliance with China’s “Entry and Exit of Genetically Modified Products Inspection and Quarantine Management Approach“. The Office destroyed the two shipments of corn according to the provisions.*
The existence of a third shipment was confirmed in a May 19th article appearing on news.china.com.cn titled, “Harbin intercepted a total of 115 kgs of GM corn seeds, which will be destroyed“:
Recently, the Harbin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau intercepted inbound mail of 21 cartons of corn seeds from USA, totaling 115 kgs, which were detected as GM seeds. This is the first time that the Heilongjiang Provincial Inspection and Quarantine System has intercepted inbound corn seeds containing GM ingredients. These corn seeds will be destroyed. *
Surprisingly, despite these seemingly drastic steps by Chinese authorities to destroy GM seeds, anarticle in China Daily from last year explains that the consumption of GM soybeans is already universal in China, even despite widespread public concerns that they have not been adequately safety tested:
Summary: Imported RR soybeans (Roundup herbicide resistant GM soybeans) has already accounted to over 80% of total consumption of soybeans in China, but the assessment and approval procedures for the initial imported GM soybeans, has been oppugned that it’s examination procedures exists with defects. According to news reports, on Feb. 20, 2012, Gu Xiu-lin and other three citizens upon application were approved to check the “certification documents for the GM soybeans obtaining safety certificates”.
The China Daily article goes on to quote Shi Yan-quan, Deputy Director, Agricultural Finance and Education Dept., who stated on April 20, 2012, that over 50 million tons of GMO soybeans were imported to China in 2011 alone. The article also refers to the fact that for eight years, 1.3 billion Chinese consumers have been consuming Monsanto’s GM food crops, relying entirely on biotech-funded safety evaluations, without any independent safety testing carried out by the Chinese government.
Chinese print media is largely supportive of GMOs. It also indicates that the print media describes the Chinese government as actively pursuing national GMO research and development programs and the promotion of GM cotton usage.
Are these latest incidents of the destruction of GM imports a sign that the tide is turning, and China, one of the world’s largest consumers of GM food, is finally drawing a hard and fast line against Monsanto and related biotech corporations co-option of their food supply?
GMWatch.org, China Destroys three Shipments of GM Corn from US, May 22nd, 2013
*Translated by a Chinese citizen whose identity remains anonymous, but GMWatch refers to under the pseudonym as “Mr. Li.”