It might be time to get a little more discerning about where your rice comes from. CCTV, China’s state station, has reported on unapproved genetically modified rice being sold in two southern markets, Hubei, and the Hunan Province – where rice remains a staple food for millions of people. This is the second time in two years that such allegations have been made.
An investigative report said that the unapproved GM rice accusation was substantiated by the Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau after rice samples taken from the two provinces tested positive for traces of genetically modified seed.
This is a serious issue considering that China has one of the largest populations to feed. An ongoing global debate about the introduction of GM seeds over two decades ago continues as arable lands decrease, and GM technology infests organic farming practices.
Though China has refused many unapproved GMO imports in the past, including many from the US, they have a long-term goal of investigating GM technology for agricultural expansion now and in the future. Beijing has vowed to invest more than 20 billion Yuan in major GM research, all while“there are no specific funding schemes for organic agriculture research in China. Since 2000, international cooperative programs have provided the first financial supports for research on organic agriculture in China, mainly in the area of development and assessment.
To boost the development of organic agriculture in China, research institutions and universities have also started several technological consulting and research programs with funds from enterprises, local governments, and a small part coming from central government. In addition, “several regions have started research and compilation of regional organic product development plans by local governments at provincial and county levels.”
As in other countries, biotech has bullied governments to pour funds into altering the agricultural landscape – one that has been developed naturally for thousands of years – into a poison playground. A landmark decision to advance GM technology in China in 2009 granted safety certificates to two strains of GM rice and one to GM Maize, signaling a general acceptance of biotech, instead of sustainable farming practices.
GM rice – whether approved or unapproved – is perhaps the most dangerous crop to be planted in China since it is grown so widely.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture maintains that GM rice is still at a research stage and comments that any commercialization of it would be illegal. Despite that, CCTV’s report proves that allowing GM into your country at all can have dire consequences. This is why so many countries have now banned GMOs altogether.
The broadcaster from CCTV stated:
“I think the [GM] technology has already spread out and once GM products are out, it’s hard to recall them […] most of the rice in Hunan, Hubei, Anhui and Fujian have been contaminated.”