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China to Begin Labeling Genetically-modified Food

Soy, corn and tomato products are among the first kinds of transgenic or genetically-modified foods that must be labeled to protect the rights of consumers, according to a recent regulation issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture that will take effect tomorrow.

While there is no large-scale manufacture of transgenic products as yet in China, transgenic foods have already entered Chinese citizens’ lives through imported agricultural products, many of which have been genetically modified. Most of the large quantities of soya beans that have been imported from the United States and Argentina in recent years have been genetically modified. And over half of soybean oil available in China contains transgenic ingredient.

To protect consumers’ rights to information and choice, the state promulgated “Regulations on Administration of Agricultural Transgenic Biological Products” last year. The recent Ministry of Agriculture’s “Regulations on Labeling Agricultural Transgenic Biological Products” demands all listed transgenic biological products be labeled.

Among the first listings of agricultural transgenic products are soybean seed, soya bean, soybean powder, soybean oil, soybean dregs, corn seed, corn, corn oil, corn powder, rapeseed, rapeseed dregs, cottonseed, tomato seed, tomato, and tomato sauce.

Consumers purchasing these agricultural products should read the labels carefully to identify any transgenic ingredient.

(中国青年报 [China Youth] February 27, 2002 by Zhang Dongcao, translated by Zhang Tingting for china.org.cn)

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