Firms apply 'double standards' on GE food

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-21 08:34
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Some transnational companies are applying double standards to produce genetically engineered (GE) food in China, a Greenpeace campaigner said.

"Over the years, we have come to realize the sad fact that many transnational firms are applying double standards in China," Lorena Luo, a Greenpeace campaigner for food and agriculture, told China Daily yesterday.

She said Unilever and Nestle, two global conglomerates, have been producing GE food in the Chinese market since the 1990s.

Greenpeace claimed the two companies, well as others, adopt different policies in their own countries.

Latest tests by Greenpeace's "independent laboratory" on the products of Japanese firm, Glico, revealed the presence of GE ingredients in four of its snack foods.

GE ingredients were also found in a German company's brand of biscuits.

The products did not carry labels saying they contained GE ingredients.

Ezaki Glico Co, based in Osaka, and the German Metro Group, have manufacturing and distribution rights in China.

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A day after the test findings were published, Glico released a statement saying it had always insisted on not using GE ingredients in their products sold worldwide, and has "never applied double standards" in China and Japan.

Metro, too, said it "adopts an unitary global standard" and that there is no difference in the "quality standard" it implements in China and Germany.

Greenpeace said it remained skeptical about the companies' responses, after it failed earlier this year to receive a written guarantee from them not to use GE ingredients in their food.

"They never responded four months ago when we inquired, and it is impossible that they could have replaced all GE ingredients in their products in the China market during this time," Luo said.

However, she said the companies had not violated the law.

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