Research must be transparent

Updated: 2014-04-08 08:38

(China Daily)

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Hainan's provincial agriculture bureau has admitted that some companies and scientific research institutions planted genetically modified crops in Hainan without authorization at the end of 2013, violating the country's regulations for genetically modified organisms. The local government should raise its transparency particularly in such sensitive matters, says an article in Beijing Times. Excerpts:

Debates over GM food have been going on for many years, involving not only the matter of safety, but also the transparency of the research. The scientific test data shows GM food is trustworthy, and, in reality, the fierce criticism of GM foods is related to profit-driven GM technology promotion and violations of consumers' right to know.

Some companies and institutions secretly conduct GM crop experiments, and such tests will undermine consumers' trust in GM foods, which will not only hinder the overall promotion of GM research, but also curb other controversial experiments. Even though GM technology is harmless, the public will still panic easily if they think research is being done secretly or illegally, in which case they naturally think something is being covered up.

In Hainan's case, the local agricultural authorities' delay in disclosing information to the public has dealt a blow to credibility of the local GM food projects.

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