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Golden corn in Hunan may be tainted with GM strain

2013-12-20 14:30 Ecns.cn Web Editor: Si Huan

(ECNS) – Police in Huaihua city, Central China's Hunan province, said they have busted a smuggling case of corn seeds, which may contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients, according to the National Business Daily.

The seeds of "US golden corn", smuggled from Hong Kong and Thailand, caused 200 acres of corn to fail last year in Tongdao county of Huaihua.

The source of the smuggled corn seeds were said to be Monsanto and Syngenta, two companies notorious for producing GM seeds.

Police caught one of the main smugglers, Luo Haihong, who had imported over 500,000 tons of corn seeds since 2003, without permission.

Li Wenliang, a professor at University of International Relations (UIR), said agricultural specialists had detected that part of the seeds might be genetically engineered. "It brought out the case that genetically modified corn seeds had infiltrated China, and brought potential hazards to China's food security, or even national safety."

According to Chinese law, foreign seeds can be cleared by customs after passing tests by inspection and quarantine authorities.

Yin Zhicai, a deputy chief at the Tongdao Public Security Bureau, said large batches of the seeds were smuggled in. "Some were also brought in by tourists traveling to China."

And some seeds from Hong Kong came into the mainland through trucks and package delivery, according to Li.

Liu Yuejin, another professor at UIR who participated in the investigation, said they didn't how many illegal seeds were brought into China.

"Smuggled seeds have been a cancer in the local market," Li said. "They would undermine farmers' interests, and cause food safety and national security problems if they were grown in large numbers."

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