GENET archive


3-Food: Companies in China clear genetically engineered food off theirshelves

genet-news mailing list

Companies in China clear genetically engineered food off their shelves

Non-GE policy becoming strong trend in the word’s largest food market

Hong-Kong/Beijing, July18, 2003 ¯ Thirty-two food producers operating in
China today announced they are now officially committed to not selling
genetically engineered (GE) food in China. This is the first time food
producers have publicly committed to such a policy in China, the largest
food market in the world.

The companies now committed to eliminating GE ingredients include
internationally known brand names such as Wyeth, Mead Johnson, Wrigley and
Lipton, which already have non-GE policy in many other countries. The local
companies include large soy sauce producers in the Southern China region,
such as Pearl River Bridge, Lee Kum Kee and Amoy, as well as a major
soymilk brand, Vitasoy.

The commitment from the 32 companies appears in sharp contrast to the
record of Nestle - a multinational caught in selling GE products in China
last year and by now famous for its double- standards. The scandal alerted
the consumers about the problem of unknown GE in their food and made them
return Nestle products back to retailers.

"Some food companies are smart enough to learn from Nestle’s bad example,”
said Greenpeace campaigner Sze Pang-cheung. "Today we welcome the first
wave of companies making public commitment in China but the truth is that
non-GE trend is here to stay.”

The local food companies committing to non-GE benefit greatly from the new
government policy introduced in March, which commits to keeping production
in the largest soy production provinces in North East China non-GE. China
is the world's fourth largest soy producer. The Chinese Government has
recently stepped up its efforts to enforce the GE labelling legislation and
conducted inspections. Officials have emphasised producers selling
unlabelled GE products would be penalised.

"Food businesses in China are joining the ranks of a growing number of
companies world-wide by committing to non-GE standards. Chinese consumers
are no different from people elsewhere: people want non-GE food. The
Chinese Government is taking seriously their right to choose. The choice
left for food producers is either to label their products as GE and face
consumer rejection, or to risk violating the regulations," said Sze

Greenpeace urges more companies to follow suit to address consumers'
growing concern on GE food. (2)

For more information: Sze Pang-cheung, Campaigner with Greenpeace China
(Beijing), Tel: +86-10-65546931 or Mob: 86-13683154665; Percy Mak, Media
Officer with Greenpeace China (Hong Kong), (852)-93816304, (852)-28548326;
Greenpeace International Press Office, Teresa Merilainen, Tel: +31205236637

Notes to the editor:

(1) 32 producers (with 53 brands) sent formal statements to Greenpeace
confirming they do not to use GE ingredients in their products sold in

(2) According to a survey conducted by Zhongshan University in December
2002, 87% of the respondents demand labelling of GE products and 56% would
choose non-GE food over GE food if given the choice.