Ministry of Agriculture under attack over apparent double standard

08:56, December 10, 2010      

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The Ministry of Agriculture was criticized for promoting genetically modified (GM) food as safe for human consumption while calling for one of its affiliated kindergartens not to use transgenic edible oil.

Mei Xinyu, an official from the Ministry of Commerce, wrote on his microblog Tuesday that the kindergarten run by the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing recently issued a notice saying transgenic edible oil should be banned in the school's kitchen.

GM food was first introduced in the early 1990s. Some experts said GM food has many advantages such as boosting production, but some question whether modified products are safe.

Chen Mengsheng, a Ministry of Agriculture spokesman, said they will introduce measures to oversee GM food and will support use of new technologies to improve them. Earlier, the ministry said GM food was safe to eat.

People became furious after learning that the kindergarten issued the notice and questioned the intentions of the ministry. "I think the ministry is ridiculous," said Fang Lifeng of Greenpeace and a GM food expert.
"The banning of GM oil in the kindergarten will no doubt make people suspicious about the safety of GM food."

The kindergarten deleted a clause in the notice about GM oil after criticism surfaced against the ministry and circulated on the Internet.
Many Internet users displayed anger on Mei's microblog. A microblogger named Tianxia said the ministry is using people as guinea pigs to test whether GM food is safe.

By Yang Ruoyu and Ge Lili, Global Times


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