GM debate needs professionals on both sides

Updated: 2013-10-22 19:42


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The debate on genetically modified food in China would be more productive if more professionals were involved on both sides, says an article of Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpt:

In China, the dispute over the safety of GM food evolves between scientists and governments as supporters and the public as opponents.

The people's suspicions are based on their miscellaneous collection of information on GM food from overseas, as well as a series of scandals involving GM food in China.

For example, in late 2012, 25 children in Hunan province were secretly used to test the effects of a variety of US GM rice on human health. The children and their families were kept in the dark about the test until the truth was uncovered by the media. This incident destroyed the public's confidence in Chinese scientists, governments and the US GM food providers, who were involved.

Now, the main supporters of GM food in China are scientists and the Agricultural Ministry. They have professional knowledge and power. The public is concerned the big international GM food companies have bought support in China. It is strange to the public that few scientists in China stand on their side to question the supporters from a professional angle, which is common in the West.

That said, the dispute now in China focuses on the authority's credibility and the possibility of graft and bribery, instead of the safety of the technology itself.