Text: | Print|

Investigation finds GM rice widely sold in Hubei

2014-07-28 09:49 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Genetically modified rice is widely on sale in central China's Hubei Province, Central China Television reported at the weekend.

Three out of five bags of rice randomly bought at supermarkets in provincial capital Wuhan were found to contain GM varieties.

China has never approved the commercial growth of GM rice, nor its import.

At a rice production area in Wuhan's Jiangxia District, a farmer said the Bt63 rice variety was popular among growers as it is genetically modified to be pest resistant.

This offers growers savings of between 200 yuan (US$32.25) to 300 yuan per mu (0.67 hectares) of land, said the farmer.

There are some 10 seed merchants in Wulijie Town, and GM seeds are popular lines, CCTV reported. However, these are only sold to local farmers.

The owner of one store who sold two bags of seed to a farmer denied selling GM rice seed, while the reporter's call for a local investigation was ignored, it reported.

In Jinxing Village in the area, many farmers use GM seed, paying 80 yuan per kilogram, CCTV said.

Bt63 GM rice was developed and patented by Huazhong Agricultural University. It received GM organism safety certification in 2009.

Regulations not strict

Zhang Qifa, a professor at Huazhong Agricultural University and team leader of the Bt63 GM rice project, said back in the 1990s seed companies could easily get hold of Bt63, as regulations were not strict and many scientific and research results were shared.

From these supplies, seed companies could cultivate the crop and sell the seed to farmers, said Zhang.

A loophole allowing GM rice to end up on Chinese consumers' dinner tables is that samples are not tested for GM content, CCTV said.

In contrast, the European Union requires Chinese rice product imports to come with a certificate from a third-party testing facility in China confirming that they do not contain 26 GM materials.

This was introduced in 2012, as rice products imported from China were frequently found to contain GM material.

This is not the first time that genetically modified rice has been found on sale in Hubei Province.

In May, environmental organization Greenpeace said it checked 15 samples of rice on sale in Wuhan and found four contained GM materials. It said the source of three Bt63 samples was Huazhong Agricultural University.

The university questioned the testing process and accused Greenpeace of stealing materials related to its GM projects.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.