In China, the world's largest food market, 32 food companies, producing 53 brands have agreed not to sell genetically engineered (GE) food. Although non-GE policy is already standard in many countries worldwide, this is the first time food producers have publicly committed to such a policy in China.
Chinese consumers turn their backs on GE food. Greenpeace Food Safety Roadshow visit to Huaying green community in Guangzhou.
Given a choice, consumers around the world do not want GE
Food companies in China are joining the ranks of a growing
number of non-GE companies worldwide. This is another blow to the
GE industry, which is already troubled by increasing market
rejection and is desperate to find new markets to dump its unwanted
Some well known brand names appear amongst the 32 food producers
promising not to use GE ingredients in products sold in China
including Lipton, Wrigley, Wyeth and Mead Johnson. These companies
have already been selling non-GE food in other countries.
Greenpeace campaigner Sze Pang-cheung said "Transnational food
companies are learning the lesson. There is a heavy price to pay
for applying double standards to Chinese consumers."
When we revealed Nestle´s ruthless overseas practice of selling
GE food, including baby food, in China and other Asian countries,
the Swiss-based company´s "double standards" met with angry
reactions from Chinese consumers who returned products to
Non-GE is unmistakably the growing trend in China. The majority
of consumers do not want GE foods, and the Chinese government is
taking consumer's rights to choose seriously.
We released China's first comprehensive survey of consumer
attitude to GE food in January this year. The survey showed that a
clear majority would choose GE-free food over GE food and many
would be willing to pay more for it. An overwhelming majority of 87
percent wanted GE food products to be labelled. More
In July last year, the Chinese government introduced compulsory
labelling of GE food. More
Recently it has stepped up measures to enforce the labelling
legislation by conducting a nationwide inspection. Agriculture
officials emphasised that producers selling unlabelled GE products
would be penalised.
"The choice for food producers is either to label their GE
products and face consumer rejection, or to risk violating the
regulation by covering up the true nature of their products," added
Sze. "Companies simply have to make the right decision for
consumers, the environment and their business interests."
We urge more companies to follow suit to address consumers'
growing concerns about GE food.