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Taiwan says no to genetically modified rice from US

Taiwan says no to genetically modified rice from US

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is not about to allow the import of genetically modified rice from the United States, the Department of Health and the Council of Agriculture said Wednesday.
The denials followed the uproar about last week’s government deciding last week to allow the import of bone-in beef and other beef products from the United States.
“If (genetically modified rice) is imported, I will step down,” COA Minister Chen Wu-hsiung told reporters.
Media reports speculated the import would begin at the end of next month as the DOH would complete a registration system for genetically modified foods in general by that time. The system had reportedly been announced on October 22 and would become official one month later if no protest was registered, reports said.
DOH officials said the COA was right that there were no plans to import the rice. Some countries already sold genetically modified rice and papayas, so Taiwan should also be prepared for any eventuality, officials said. According to the DOH, collecting information and hearing various opinions on the subject did not signify that Taiwan was about to allow the import.
Foreign countries expecting to import rice into Taiwan still had to submit documents listing its genetic background, the COA said. Vietnam, Japan and the U.S. are the only countries exporting rice to Taiwan at present, and none of the product is genetically modified.
Local rice farmers said the genetically modified variety could be mixed in with other rice, causing panic and making consumers lose confidence in Taiwanese rice as well. Such a development would damage the livelihood of many people, farmers said.
Taiwan is following World Trade Organization rules on the import of rice, being allowed an annual quota, officials said. Any genetic altering done domestically will center on grains not for use as food for people, according to government sources.


Updated : 2021-06-24 20:00 GMT+08:00