China recently denied 60,000 tons of corn from the US because it harbored unapproved transgenic content, reigniting the debate on GMOs in China, China Daily reports:
Local authorities in the southern port city of Shenzhen found MIR162, a type of insect-resistant transgenic corn, among a batch of over 60,000 tonnes of corn imported from the United States, said Chen Xitong, spokesman for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
MIR162 is not authorized by China’s agricultural department, and the Shenzhen bureau returned the batch of imports according to China’s regulations for genetically modified agricultural products, Chen said.
According to the spokesman, the AQSIQ has notified US authorities of the event, hoping they will order the US corn exporters concerned to strengthen inspection and quarantine of corn exports to China in conformity with Chinese law and regulations.
Now this particular batch may indeed have been harmful (even though the idea that GMO corn reduces sperm counts hasn’t been proved), but the reactions from netizens seem to illustrate the rampant Chinese distrust of GMOs in general:
“If you don’t resist [genetically modified foods], you’ll just be waiting to die.”
“Oppose genetically modified food entering China!”
“Some people are saying to boycott corn and corn products, but how effective is this? Most corn is used as fodder, so when you eat meat you might be unwittingly eating corn. Now you can say you won’t eat meat, but if genetically-modified corn enters China, it will mix with non-genetically-modified corn, even assimilate and absorb the non-genetically-modified corn, and so, you can’t hide from it.”
The public has so far also rejected Yuan Longping’s super rice, which is going to be increasingly important as China may rely on it to feed its population in the future – especially with the relaxing of the one-child policy. Though some experts say that food won’t be a problem.
Nonetheless, many fears regarding GMOs ability to reduce sperm counts and cause cancer have yet to be proved. (And we’re being facetious, but even if they did reduce sperm, wouldn’t that be two birds with one stone?: providing enough food and controlling the population).
Not to mention that China’s non-genetically modified foods don’t have the greatest track record.