GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

2-Plants: China orders investigation after Greenpeace claims GE rice sold illegally



                                  PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GMO Rice Sold in Central China Markets - Greenpeace
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   14 Apr 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


GMO Rice Sold in Central China Markets - Greenpeace

BEIJING - Genetically modified rice is being sold in markets in the central
Chinese province of Hubei, even though the authorities have not yet
approved its sale in China, Greenpeace charged on Wednesday.

Greenpeace employees were able to buy rice and rice seeds that had been
modified to contain a bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), that produces
a toxin that kills pests, Liu Haiying, programme director for Greenpeace in
Beijing, told reporters at a press conference.

China is testing several strains of genetically modified rice and is
expected to approve one for commercialisation this year.

Proponents of genetically-modified crops say they will improve yield and
reduce plants' vulnerability to pests. Opponents say pests will develop
greater resistence to the modified crops, and that the techniques undermine
biodiversity and could prove dangerous for human consumption.

Rice strains with Bt have been planted in China on a trial basis for several
years as part of research conducted by Huazhong Agricultural University, in
the city of Wuhan.

Liu said the Bt rice had been offered for sale at markets in Wuhan and a
nearby suburb, and in two smaller Hubei cities.

"We haven't sold the modified rice. We are still conducting trials," said an
assistant to professor Zhang Qifa, who is developing the Bt rice strain at
Huazhong. She declined to speculate on how the rice had entered the
markets.

Greenpeace estimated that 950 to 1,200 tonnes of the rice had been grown
last year from a planted area of 1,900 to 2,400 mu (127 to 160 hectares).
It estimates planted area this year at 20,000 to 25,000 mu (1,333 to 1,667
hectares) with an output of 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes.


                                  PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Greenpeace Report on China's GM Rice Questioned
SOURCE: China View
        http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/14/content_2826166.htm
DATE:   15 Apr 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Greenpeace Report on China's GM Rice Questioned

BEIJING -- Agricultural experts and Chinese authorities denied Greenpeace
accusations of "out of control" genetically modified (GM) rice and cast
doubt on its testing procedures. At a news conference in Hong Kong
yesterday, Greenpeace, an international environmental group, released its
findings on GM crops in China.

During February and April, the group carried out tests on rice bought in
Central China's Hubei Province. Of the 25 samples taken, 19 contained GM
rice, modified to contain a bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), that
produces a toxin that kills pests, said Liu Haiying, programme director for
Greenpeace in Beijing. Samples collected in Hubei Province were sent to a
gene testing laboratory in Germany, she said. Greenpeace GE (genetic
engineering) campaigner Sze Pang Cheung also said yesterday: "The GE
industry is out of control."

Zhu Xinquan, chairman of the Chinese Society of Agro-Biotechnology, said: "I
cannot agree with the findings of the report by Greenpeace and I am
wondering if the tests conducted by the organization are scientific or
not."

An official with the Office of Genetically Modified Organism Safety under
the ministry of Agriculture said: "We have not seen the concrete testing
reports. Moreover, the testing of GM rice seeds should be based on China's
technical standards." "We've asked the agricultural department in Hubei
Province to conduct on-the-spot examination on this issue," said the
official who declined to be identified.

Greenpeace estimated that 950 to 1,200 tons of GM rice were grown in China
last year from a planted area of 1,900 to 2,400 mu (127 to 160 hectares).
This year the planted area will grow to 20,000 to 25,000 mu (1,333 to 1,667
hectares) with an output of 10,000 to 12,000 tons, the Greenpeace said.

The Chinese official admitted that field trials of GE rice are being
conducted in Hubei as well in some other places. But the official said the
plantation acreage is limited to 30 mu (2 hectares).

Rice strains modified to contain Bt have been planted in China on a trial
basis for several years as part of research conducted by Huazhong
Agricultural University. Zhu said "regulations on GM food have been in
force for several years in China and the nation is doing more research
before approving the commercialization of GM rice. "A cautious attitude
must be taken on the safety of GM rice since it is a highly important food
for Chinese people."

The ministry official also added: "Sales of GM rice seeds are strictly
prohibited and there are GM safety offices at province level to conduct
regular checks on it."


                                  PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  China orders investigation after Greenpeace claims genetically
modified rice sold illegally
SOURCE: Associated Press, by Joe McDonald
DATE:   13 Apr 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


China orders investigation after Greenpeace claims genetically modified rice
sold illegally

BEIJING (AP) China has ordered an investigation into an environmental
group's claims that genetically modified rice not approved for human
consumption has been sold in central China for two years, an official said
Thursday.

Greenpeace on Wednesday called for a recall of the rice and released what it
said were results of lab tests of rice from seed companies, farmers and rice
millers in Hubei province.

"We have started an investigation of the Greenpeace report," said an
official contacted by phone at the Agriculture Ministry's office for
genetically modified organisms.

The official confirmed that some genetically modified rice was planted in
Hubei, but said it was experimental and the plantings were limited to five
acres. He refused to give his name.

The Chinese government is researching genetic engineering in a wide range of
crops, hoping to increase farm output as it copes with a shortage of
farmland and the need to feed a population of 1.3 billion people.

China has seen little of the debate that has raged abroad about the possible
dangers of genetically modified, or GM, crops.

Greenpeace said up to 1,200 tons of the rice may have "entered the food
chain." It did not give any more details and it was not clear whether the
rice had been shipped out of the country.

It said interviews with seed providers and farmers showed that the rice had
been in circulation for at least two years.

The rice has been modified to produce a pesticide that can cause allergic
reactions in humans, Dr. Janet Cotter, from the group's science division,
said in a prepared statement.

"We are calling on the Chinese government to take urgent action to recall
the unapproved (genetically engineered) rice from the fields and from the
food chain, and to conduct an immediate inquiry into the source of the
contamination," Greenpeace said in the statement.

An official of the Hubei provincial agriculture bureau, contacted by phone,
said the province has been carrying out test plantings of GM rice
engineered to resist insects for two to three years.

The official refused to give his name or any other details about the rice,
saying the issue was a "sensitive problem."

Beijing said in December that it was testing the safety of genetically
modified rice but denied that it was preparing to allow commercial sales.




-- 
GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinaeckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig
Germany

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(at)genet-info.org
W: <http://www.genet-info.org>

-----------------------------
   GENET-news mailing list   
-----------------------------