Nation seeks to regulate genetically modified matter
By JIN BAICHENG
China is to strengthen supervision over genetically modified material, an issue which has led to controversy across the world.
The State Council recently issued a set of regulations on transgenic technology in a bid to protect human health and the environment, and to promote further research into the area.
The regulations, the first of their kind in China, came into effect in May after being approved by Premier Zhu Rongji.
The regulations include a total of 56 articles, and give specific details about research, development, processing and the trading of genetically modified plants, animals and microbes.
According to Xu Guanhua, minister of Science and Technology, the Chinese Government is taking the issue seriously.
"The technology itself is neutral and does not harm human health. But genetically modified food, which is the result of putting genes from one organism into another, may cause potential harm and jeopardize human health," Xu said.
According to the regulations, the agricultural administration department of the State Council will be in charge of supervising transgenic technology.
Individuals and work units will have to get approval before engaging in experiments related to producing, processing, importing and exporting transgenic plants, animals and microbes.
Genetically modified products will be divided into four categories according to the possible harm they could do to humans, animals, plants, microbes and the environment.
The regulations also require that research institutions have sufficient facilities to ensure safe research into the area.
Certain products must also be properly labelled before they are allowed to be sold on the open market.