(Xinhua) -- Chinese food and agricultural experts said no evidence has proved genetically-modified crops are unsafe for people and the environment.
Huang Dafang, director of Biotechnology Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said Friday that the genetically-modified crops are of great significance to the sustainable development of agriculture and China\'s competitiveness in global arena.
\"It could help increase the output to ease the food supply strain caused by the shrinking of farmland,\" Huang said.
\"We are technically advantageous in hybrid rice planting. The genetically-modified technology could ensure China\'s superiority in food production.\"
China, a populous country with 1.3 billion people, has put the food security on high agenda in its national development planning. China\'s central authorities issued a document on Jan. 31, which calls for pushing forward the industrialization of genetically-modified crops on the basis of scientific appraisal and management in accordance with law. However, people are concerned with the safety of genetically-modified food. Wu Yongning, a food safety specialist with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said current studies have not proved genetically-modified food harmful to human health. Wu said that genetically-modified food have to pass scrupulous testing in order to get on shelves, including laboratory and field studies, toxicity and allergy tests. Besides, health administrations will establish a system to monitor and report adverse effects, said Wu.
\"I am not ruling out all possible risks, but those risks of genetically-modified food are no greater than that of traditional ones, given the heavy use of pesticide in growing traditional food,\" he said.
The State Council of China introduced a regulation in 2001 to ensure the safety of genetically-modified food, with strict provisions on its research, test, production and marketing. Huang Dafang said the genetically-modified food are less vulnerable to insects and diseases, and as a result, fewer pesticide is needed in growing them, which is safer to human beings and the environment. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA), about 224,000 tons of pesticide was saved during the decade between 1996 to 2006, thanks to the expansion of genetically-modified planting. Besides, the reduced workload to pesticide the crops will help ease the labor shortfall in China\'s countryside resulted from large population of migrant workers, said Huang.