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China delays GM crop certificate renewal  


2014-09-04 13:26 Ecns.cn Web Editor: Gu Liping
A researcher of the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences checks the growth of GM rice. [Photo: the Beijing News / Hou Shaoqing]

A researcher of the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences checks the growth of GM rice. [Photo: the Beijing News / Hou Shaoqing]

(ECNS) -- China's developers of certified genetically modified (GM) rice and corn have yet to obtain renewed safety certificates nearly 20 days after the old ones expired, the Beijing News reported.

The safety certificates for two kinds of GM rice and one type of Monsanto brand GM corn - the only three types of GM food that still had national GM certificates - expired on August 17.

The Biotechnology Research Institute at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, which developed certified GM corn, said they had submitted documents to the Shandong provincial agriculture department, which must approve all field experiments there.

A departmental officer surnamed Tan noted that he was aware that these documents had been issued, but would not say why they had not been accepted.

Team researchers said they have been preparing to renew certificates since the end of last year, but haven't submitted the application to the Ministry of Agriculture due to a lack of necessary documents.

However, the Wuhan-based Huazhong Agricultural University, which developed certified GM rice, said last month that they had submitted documents to the ministry long before the expiration date, but the application had still not been approved.

The deadline for submitting GM certificate applications to the ministry in the second half of each year is September 30, and the ministry is required to notify applicants about whether their applications have been accepted within two months.

Huang Dafang, researcher at the Biotechnology Research Institute, and also a member of the country's GM organisms safety committee, said some officials are cautious about the issue and have delayed the procedure because of public opinion.

Cai Jingjing, another researcher at the institute, said the slowed pace of industrialization could discourage research.

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