Weak regulations allow 30% of supermarket products to escape GMO labeling - Greenpeace

Press release - 2015-05-11
Beijing, May 11 2015- Greenpeace East Asia released findings today revealing food containing unlabeled genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and illegal GMO rice content, is being sold across China’s major cities. The investigation highlights vast loopholes in China’s GMO labeling regulations which have allowed unlabeled products onto supermarket shelves.

“There is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs. This is why proper food labeling is so important. Consumers currently have no way of exercising their right to choose what products they purchase for their families,” said Wang Jing, Food and Agriculture campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

Between January and March 2015, Greenpeace conducted investigations into rice, soy and corn products sold across major supermarkets in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. After testing at a third-party laboratory, the results showed that out of 43 samples, 14 (including samples from Nestlé and Pringles) included GMO ingredients: more than 30% of the entire sample batch. Additionally, 36 percent of the imported product samples, which are generally considered ‘high-end’ and ‘safe’ by Chinese consumers, tested positive. None of the positive samples had any GMO labels on the packaging. Furthermore, one of the sampled products tested positive for GMO rice content, the sale and commercial production of which is illegal in China.

The investigation comes in the wake of three lawsuits filed against the Ministry of Agriculture in the past six months, demanding disclosure of information on GMO crops and allegedly illegal GMO food production and sales.

“The public is being denied the right to know about GMO ingredients in the food they purchase. The presence of illegal and unlabeled GMOs in supermarkets demonstrates a real need for stronger supervision and transparency,” said Wang Jing.

Greenpeace urges the Ministry of Agriculture to develop comprehensive GMO labeling regulations and provide greater transparency surrounding GMO information. Greenpeace also demands that food containing illegal GMO ingredients be immediately removed from supermarket shelves and that the source of GMO ingredients is investigated.

Media Contact:

Gabriel Shen, Greenpeace East Asia Communications Officer


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