May 7, 2004
Chinese consumers would like more information about whether the
food they buy contains genetically modified (GM) ingredients,
and more would prefer to buy non-GM food than GM food if given a
the recently released results of an opinion poll of attitudes to
GM food in China, commissioned by Greenpeace and carried out in
February this year by Research International.
seven per cent of 600 people interviewed in the cities of
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou agreed with the suggestion that
GM products should be labelled. More than two-thirds said that
they would lose confidence in a brand if its products were found
to contain GM ingredients.
per cent said they would have increased confidence in brands
that committed themselves to a non-GM policy.
consumers are sending a clear signal to the food industry that
they demand the right to choose, and food companies risk losing
significant market and consumer confidence if they place their
bets on GM," says Sze Pang Cheung, Greenpeace GM campaign
"Conventional soya has been consumed in China for 5,000 years.
Our commonsense should tell us which is safer."
Shirong, a leading Chinese scientist responsible for testing the
safety of GM crops, told SciDev.Net that there is no evidence to
suggest that GM crops cause environmental damage or harm human
is the world's biggest importer of GM soya after the European
Union. Last year, it imported more than 20 million tons of soya
worth US$4.8 billion, a rise of 80 per cent over the previous
year. More than 90 per cent of these imported soybeans contained