New Chinese biotech rules cause confusion

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Genetically modified organism

New Chinese rules for bioengineered foods are causing turmoil in
grain and oilseed markets in anticipation of large shipments of
biotech soybeans from...

New Chinese rules for bioengineered foods are causing turmoil in grain and oilseed markets in anticipation of large shipments of biotech soybeans from South America, Stephen Clapp and Steven Lewis from Food Chemical News​ report. The regulations, announced June 6 to take effect immediately, require that all production, sale and import of biotech foods be certified by the government as safe to humans, animals and the environment. The rules authorise a biotech labelling regime, but a Washington, D.C., attorney told Food Chemical News they are “incomprehensible” and do not specify which, if any, finished food products would be covered or how. U.S. trade officials are equally baffled, he said. The published regulation states that “detailed rules for the Ag GMO [genetically modified organism] categories are to be stipulated, adjusted and announced by the Agricultural Administrative Department after consulting with other relevant departments of the State Council.”​ Other details are also unclear, including which authorities are in charge of issuing certificates and even the definition of biotech foods. The new rules were announced just as more than 1.5 million tons of soybeans were scheduled to arrive each month from South America. Chinese soy imports are expected to rise to 11–12 million tons this year, from about 10 million tons last year.

Related topics: Policy

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