China has a double standard regarding GMOs: two government ministries have now banned GM ingredients from their canteens, while the school canteens for the children of citizens have not.
China's Ministry of Education was the first to ban GMO ingredients in its office canteen.
A notice within the building of the Ministry of Education, as translated into English by British-Chinese business consultant Chen I-wan, begins, “Our canteen does not use food containing GM ingredients".
It further states, “The issue of whether GM food is harmful to human health is currently without consensus within academia. GM food has only appeared [in China] for a short period, making it very difficult at present to appropriately assess it's impact on long-term safety. Further research and longer time is required for verification. To eliminate the concerns of diners, and to assure the safety and health of our staff members, our Ministry of Education Office Canteen temporarily will not use food oil containing GM ingredients and GM food materials. Please enjoy your food without any such concern.”
The above information was released in Chinese on the blog of Chen I-wan: http://t.cn/8Fo9BpL
Chen I-Wan reports that yesterday, 20 Feb 2014, the Ministry of Finance followed suit and declared a GM-free policy in its canteen, with the Ministry's official website releasing the following statement (our emphasis):
"During recent years, the issue of food safety has become even more severe, malignant events endlessly emerge, constructing serious threat to health of the people, which have also drawn high attention by the party and government. In view of all kinds of food safety problems existing in the current society, the ministry leaders pay great attention, Xie Xu-ren, Minister of Finance, made instructions many times to safeguard health of staff members, requesting the ministry's office service center pay full attention to food hygiene, and give top priority to the health of staff members.
"Liu Hong-wei, minister's assistant, has organized special meetings attended by relevant department personnel, instructed to seriously follow the State Council's notice on further strengthening the food and drug safety, and opinions on promoting healthy development of the vegetable oil industry food supply security, emphasized 'the basis of a nation is the people, people treat food like heaven, with safety as top priority', request ministry office canteen strongly control quality of food materials, assure the food supply is absolutely green and safe, firmly establish superior quality service concept of "the health of staff members is more important than anything, the importance of food safety carries a heavier weight than the Taishan mountain. The food oil purchased by the office canteen is natural, green, nutritious, safe, and non-GMO.'"
Chen I-wan says, "The above-mentioned notice within the building of the Ministry of Education, was described by some GM proponents as an occasional case, not reflecting an official government position.
"However, the above announcement of the official website of the Ministry of Finance of China, especially stressing it is the result of the Minister's position, causes the GM proponents to shut up on this issue."
Chen I-wan says pressure is growing within China to get GM food oil and other GM ingredients out of the school food supply system.