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GM foods with an 'ID card' debut in Beijing
( 2003-07-22 17:31) (chinadaily.com.cn)

Starting from July 21 all genetically modified (GM) foods will be labeled in markets in Beijing -- the first Chinese city to do so -- the China Youth Daily reported Monday.

The newspaper reported that 10 genetically modified food products are now on sale in Beijing, including "Huoniao," "Lubao," "Hailanhua," "Xiyingmen," "Jiaxiang," "Yulongren," "Hongle" and "Sicheng" salad oil.

Experts in this field indicate the GM label is not a symbol demonstrating whether the food is healthy or not, but giving consumers the right to know and the right to choose.

"The small label shows respect to consumers," said Wu Jianfan, director of the Beijing Genetically Modified Agricultural Organisms Office.

Regulations on the Administration of Genetically Modified Agricultural Organisms, effective March 20, 2002, stipulate that all GM produce listed in its catalogue should be clearly labeled. While GM foods were readily available in China, no GM food appeared with an "ID card" in 2002.

Yesterday, the Beijing Agricultural Bureau checked the quality of GM produce in many supermarkets and two oilseed processing companies. It is common that the use of the label is not standardized. Some produce is described as being "made from GM soybeans, but not containing the GM element," which experts said violates government rules.

In addition, some enterprises have applied for the genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling certificate, although they do not label produce when putting it on the market. The phenomenon has been checked in Beijing, the report added.

(compiled by Song Hongmei)

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