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Food Firms Committed to Non-GM Material

Thirty-two overseas and Chinese food companies, including Mead Johnson, Lipton and Wrigley, have promised not to use genetically modified (GM) farm produce in their products, the environmental group Greenpeace announced on Friday.

This represents the first ever declaration by Chinese and overseas companies in China of a commitment not to use genetically modified products, said Greenpeace advisor Dr. Zhu Jian'gang.

Dr. Zhu, also a research fellow of the Green Community Institute with prestigious Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University, said that written commitments had been received from 32 out of 67 requests sent to food companies.

"The response we've got from those companies indicates the non-GM concept is affecting the future food market in China," said Zhu.

According to the outcome of a 2002 survey of 1,000 citizens in Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong Province, 56 percent of those surveyed said they would choose non-GM food, and only 11 percent of the respondents said they would prefer GM food, excluding the price factor.

Many cooking oil producers in China use GM farm products without declaring on labels the GM content.

Shi Pengxiang, a Greenpeace project manager, said Greenpeace expected more companies to join the non-GM food campaign.

Greenpace will offer technical assistance and information in this regard, said Shi.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2003)

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