Latest News:  
Beijing   Thundershower/Shower    28 / 20   City Forecast


China must be wary of genetically modified food

By Zheng Fengtian (Global Times)

16:03, August 25, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

I read the article "Why the Spanish are Not Afraid of Genetically Modified Food" written by Jorge de Saja earlier than other readers. I was astonished because the European Union has always been a pioneer in opposing the genetically modified food, and the British even made a new phrase "Frankenfood," which means evil food. Recently, a reporter in Beijing from a renowned Spanish TV station talked about the GM food issue with me. When I asked him whether he dared to eat genetically modified food or drink genetically modified milk, he replied that he does not and most Spanish do not either.

In fact, the public opinion survey is the best tool for learning Europe's true opinions on genetically modified food, and the most influential public opinion of Europe is the Eurobarometer. According to a Eurobarometer public opinion survey made in 2010, more European people were becoming opposed to the genetically modified food compared to the past.

In 2007, 58 percent of European people were opposed to genetically modified food, but in 2010, the number grew to 61 percent. Between from 1995 and 2010, European people's support for genetically modified food was on the steady decline, and currently only less than 5 percent of them strongly support genetically modified food. In many countries, people's support for genetically modified food has sharply declined too.

The most obvious country is Spain. In the past, Spain was a country where genetically modified food enjoyed a relatively large amount of popular support, and it even commercialized the genetically modified corn it planted. But in the past five years, the support of Spain's people for genetically modified foods has constantly been decreasing, and currently only 20 percent of them support it. Therefore, the viewpoint that the Spanish are not afraid of the genetically modified food is only Saja's personal viewpoint.

Europe's public opinion shows that 59 percent of Europeans considered genetically modified foods unsafe, and 58 percent said that the foods were not safe for the next generation either. Only less than one-third said that genetically modified foods were economically beneficial, and 84 percent are alert to genetically modified foods.

According to the public opinion, it is interesting that the masses do understand genetically modified foods, so those who assert that they can win public support by popularizing the knowledge of genetically modified foods are wrong. Europeans are well aware of the difference between biotechnology and genetically modified foods and are not opposed to the revolution in biotechnology that can bring new medicines.

Currently, the European Union is the most prudent region in the world in terms of genetically modified foods and has not compromised after the United States repeatedly filed related lawsuits to the World Trade Organization. When the United States strives to promote the transgenic technology across the world in pursuit of commercial benefits, the European Union has always acted as an opponent. The European Union is one of the continents that have approved the least number of genetically modified varieties, have the minimum area of genetically modified crops and have applied the strictest supervision. Only a small amount of corn and potatoes is produced and used to feed animals in the European Union.

Europe has introduced strict regulations on the labeling of genetically modified food, requiring all food that contains genetically modified organisms to be clearly labeled as such for the convenience of consumers. Certain people suggested that China should introduce similar labeling regulations, but this method may be impractical in China because it requires enterprises to be truly honest and regulators to be highly competent and responsible.

At present, China's regulation of genetically modified food is unreliable. For example, although related authorities have repeatedly claimed that China has not approved the commercial planting of genetically modified rice, many research institutions have found that it is easy to buy genetically modified rice from supermarkets. Strangely, there have been many such cases over the past many years, but the people involved have not received any due punishment. Not along ago, related authorities reportedly quietly banned a previously approved corn strain because it was later found to be a genetically modified crop. These examples have shown that China has still a long way to go in the regulation of genetically modified food.

The author Zheng Fengtian is a professor at Renmin University of China.


Leave your comment3 comments

  1. Name

European at 2011-08-26178.83.229.*
China has in the 50s and later suffered from the devastation by agricultural technology. Large areas of Northeast China lay barren because "fertilizers" have destroyed the soil. China should be the first country to oppose yet another technology that claims to increase economic benefit by changing nature"s perfection.
NO-GMO at 2011-08-2676.76.236.*
Independent research has already shown us that GMO"s cause premature aging, autoimmune disease, tumors, sterility, genetal malformati-ons, and cancer in rats fed these poisons. Whole herds of sheep and cattle have died eating BT cotton. GMO crops are made to resist increased levels of glyphospha-te (Roundup, a Monsanto creation), thus there is contaminat-ion from these chemicals as well. Seeding a corn gene with a bacterial protein would never happen in nature. GMO"s are not natural, natural selection is natural. These toxic plants should be banned like they have already been in most of Europe.To end your confusion, I suggest you do some serious non-PR reading. GMOs failing across America - Farmer to Farmer film reveals disastrous failure Studies Link GMOs to Organ Disruption — http://www-.responsib-letechnolo-gy.orgGM Crops Decimating Monarch Butterflie-s Habitats plant disease linked to GM crops and pesticides-—"s herbicide causing Sudden Death Syndrome in plants tried to block Austrian government research linking GMOs & Infertility misuse of the term "genetical-ly modified" designed to mislead people— Warn: Avoid Geneticall-y Modified Food —
import inspector at 2011-08-26168.122.43.*
American beef is very unhealthy, china must ban US beef immediately.

Selections for you

  1. 9th National Dance Competition kicks off in NW China

  2. 'Most complicated overpass' to open to traffic

  3. Air-sea rescue exercise held in Shanghai

  4. Amazing snuff bottle painting in N. China

Most Popular


  1. Reflect on negative effects of Libya war
  2. Is over-urbanization causing China's inflation?
  3. Will China repeat Japan's 'lost decade?'
  4. China must be wary of genetically modified food
  5. Tough decade may lie ahead for world economy
  6. US' flooding dollars must not be condoned: scholar
  7. Trial voyage turns 'China threat theory' on its head
  8. Global economy not to suffer deep recession
  9. No safe havens in global financial storm
  10. HK blessed with new development opportunity

What's happening in China

Officials fired as rescue ongoing

  1. Coal mine safety so far this year
  2. Plan sets out details for human rights development and implementation
  3. Ancestral villages all gone with the flow
  4. First official electronic chart in service
  5. Plans for man-made island lead to worries

PD Online Data

  1. The Qiang ethnic minority
  2. The Ozbek ethnic minority
  3. The Lisu ethnic minority
  4. The Hani ethnic minority
  5. The Hui ethnic minority