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22.01.2018 |

China’s first GM rice gets US FDA approval

GM crops met with strong opposition from Chinese public

A genetically modified (GM) rice product developed by a group of Chinese scientists has acquired the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the first such Chinese product allowed to enter the US market.

However, neither China nor the US has approved mass cultivation of the rice amid low acceptance from the Chinese public for GM food.

Huahui No.1 rice, developed by the Huazhong Agricultural University, is genetically engineered to resist a wide range of insects, thus reducing the use of pesticides.

Lin Yongjun, a professor at Huazhong Agricultural University and one of the scientists that developed the rice, told the Global Times on Monday that Huahui No.1 could not be grown in China as "the country has not conducted regional trials nor provided guidelines to examine genetically engineered rice."

Lin said his team might consider growing Huahui No. 1 in Southeast Asian countries, "but our reach is limited and we hope the authorities can provide funding and legal support."

Lin's university received an email from the FDA on January 11 approving the rice.

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"The government wants to take its time on GM food for social stability reason. It has a three-step plan to gradually industrialize GM crops, first on inedible crops, then on vegetables and fruits and the last on staple food such as rice and wheat," Luo said.

"There is still a long way to go before the public accepts GM rice in the market," he noted.

In 2016, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, the nation's top grain producing region, prohibited the cultivation of genetically modified crops, including GM corn and soybeans, after 91.5 percent of respondents to a survey conducted in the province raised objections to GM crops.

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