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China Rejects 545,000 Tons of US Genetically Modified Corn 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the kernel-of-dissatisfaction dept.
hawkinspeter writes "The BBC is reporting that China has rejected 545,000 tons of U.S. corn that was found to contain an unapproved genetically modified strain. Although China doesn't have a problem per se with GM crops (they've been importing GM soybeans since 1997) — but their product safety agency found MIR162 in 12 batches of corn. 'The safety evaluation process [for MIR162] has not been completed and no imports are allowed at the moment before the safety certificate is issued,' said Nui Din, China's vice agricultural minister. The Chinese are now calling on U.S. authorities to tighten their controls to prevent unapproved strains from being sent to China after the first batch of corn was rejected in November due to MIR162."
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China Rejects 545,000 Tons of US Genetically Modified Corn

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  • by Markvs (17298) on Friday December 20, 2013 @11:54AM (#45746625) Journal
    The North Koreans will happily take it.
  • "The safety evaluation process [for MIR162] has not been completed and no imports are allowed at the moment before the safety certificate is issued," said China's vice agricultural minister, Niu Dun.

    The Ministry of Agriculture has recently launched a publicity campaign to allay concerns over GM foods and says the criticisms are unfounded.

    Seems pretty fair to me. sloppy testing on the US end is all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      MIR162 is a Syngenta product... the company is Swiss...

  • by Deimos24601 (904979) on Friday December 20, 2013 @11:59AM (#45746687)
    Apparently the melamine powder content was too low...
    • We also forgot to add arsenic, pesticides, and formaldehyde
      • Sprinkle with lead, and put for two hours at PM2.5 set to 1000.

        Once baked, package carefully for shipping in that nice Walmart box.

    • Normally I'd agree with you about the melamine content being too low (and/or the bribes were too low). However, considering the public example they made of the guy responsible for the milk scandal (execution even though he was a wealthy, influential, individual) I have to say that unless the guys at the Ministry of Agriculture are incredibly stupid this is probably a legit complaint on their part.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by some old guy (674482)

        In China you don't get executed for screwing up. You get executed for embarrassing the Party.

  • Egads! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday December 20, 2013 @12:05PM (#45746755)

    Assuming that Chinese health authorities have their priorities straight, that must mean that eating US corn is more dangerous than breathing the air in Beijing. This is worrisome!

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday December 20, 2013 @12:15PM (#45746847) Journal
    China has a "Product safety agency"? Really? It must only apply to imports, not exports.
    • Yep, one the main points of these free-trade zones was to remove the burden of local compliance for export products.

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      I really like this quote from the article:

      The agency called on US authorities to tighten controls to ensure unapproved strains are not sent to China.

      This reminds me of a saying my friend regularly uses;

      Pot,Pot, this is Kettle, Kettle, colour check, over.

  • Trust us.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jasper160 (2642717) on Friday December 20, 2013 @12:21PM (#45746921)
    It was tested for two years http://cera-gmc.org/index.php?action=gm_crop_database&mode=ShowProd&data=MIR162 [cera-gmc.org]. Considering most drugs take decades if they even make it to market.
    • by slew (2918)

      FYI, MIR162 was approved for use by the EU [europa.eu].
      Of course, this might be because it was developed by a Swiss company (Syngenta)...

      The modification made to MIR162 (insertion of a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis aka Bt which creates the Vip3Aa protein) is in some ways the complement to what was known as BtCorn (which is the generic moniker for many varieties of corn which inserted one of the other genes from Bt and created a different protein Cry1Ac and was developed by the non-European company Monsanto). Appare

      • Not only by the EU. It is also approved for food in Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, Columbia and Korea.

        I am sure there will be no problem finding customers. Meanwhile billions of Chinese babies will go hungry.

        The expressed protein is a Bt toxin, which is approved for and used on organic farms as a natural pesticide.

        • by slew (2918)

          The expressed protein is a Bt toxin, which is approved for and used on organic farms as a natural pesticide.

          Although the expressed protein is a Bt toxin, and application of Bt is considered as a organic natural pesticide spray, they aren't quite the same.
          In the GM variant, it is actually produced in the corn itself, where in the organic farming case, an inactivated Bt bacteria solution is sprayed on corn and you are only consuming the pesticide residue. The difference is in the quantity that you might ingest.

          Personally, I don't think GM modifications like MIR162 as a major consumption hazard (I'm sure I've eaten

    • Food is not a drug. Drugs are specifically designed to interrupt or change normal metabolic pathways and processes, whereas food is not. That drugs take years to make it to market and food does not is to be expected.
      • The whole point of some of these changes is to make the food no longer attractive (or possibly even toxic) to pests. It seems reasonable that the changes required to do this may have some impact on people as well.

        That said, direct genetic modification is a lot less likely to cause problems than the radiation-based mutation where they just blast it and see what they end up with--that ends up changing a lot more DNA than the direct modification would, and has far fewer labelling restrictions.

        • It seems reasonable only to uninformed people.

          The pest control is bacillus thuringiensis toxin, a group of proteins so specific that they affects only a few species of insects.

          These materials are permitted for use by organic farmers as a natural pesticide.

        • The whole point of some of these changes is to make the food no longer attractive (or possibly even toxic) to pests. It seems reasonable that the changes required to do this may have some impact on people as well.

          In this case, we know exactly how we are making it pest resistant. The Bt genes produce a protein that has no known affect on mammalians. It isn't 'possibly' toxic to the pests it targets, it kills them. It is, to them, toxic, but just like grapes and chocolate are toxic to dogs, that does not mean it is also toxic to humans. The Bt proteins have a very specific and well understood mode of action, and they simply have no impact on humans.

          direct genetic modification is a lot less likely to cause problems than the radiation-based mutation where they just blast it and see what they end up with

          You don't even need to go that far. People all over are breeding

      • >Drugs are specifically designed to interrupt or change normal metabolic pathways and processes, whereas food is not.

        All foods affect metabolic pathways. Try eating a few slices of bread and see what happens to your insulin, blood glucose and LPL receptor expression.
        Try eating lots of broccolli and see how your thyroid hormones react.

        As xkcd probably said, we are all big bags of chemical reactions and we throw other chemicals in our gobs to keep the reactions going. Don't think there is a magic division

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Food is not a drug.

        Bullshit.

        Drugs are specifically designed to interrupt or change normal metabolic pathways and processes

        Medical dictionary: "A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior and often addiction." Food fits the entire description.

        That drugs take years to make it to market and food does not is to be expected.

        The FDA disagrees with you [examiner.com]. Apparently, Walnuts are a drug if you make health claims supported by science on your packaging. Cherries have been subjected to the same treatment. So you see, clearly food is a drug, both literally and legally.

  • Let's say China ships us 545,000 tons of toothpaste laced with lead, and our health inspectors reject it. Would this even be news or just another day at the Los Angeles shipping ports?

    As it stands, our trade deficit with China is so great, we're coming up with creative uses for all the shipping containers being stocked 30 or 40 high -- we could build housing for the homeless from all those containers, and completely eliminate homelessness in this country, if only we had the land to put all those containers

    • Yes, it probably would be news. The "Chinese Drywall" scare in 2007/2008 made the news for a few weeks as well.

      The only reason this made Slashdot was because its related to GMO. GMO tends to be a hot button for nerds because a fair number of misinformed people will malignly knee-jerk in response to GMO, while people who are more likely to understand GMO tend to be okay with minimal variations or even approve wholeheartedly.

      After all, if you disapprove of all GMO, you shouldn't eat orange carrots or else y

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "- we could build housing for the homeless from all those containers, and completely eliminate homelessness in this country, if only we had the land to put all those containers somewhere else."

      Much love for my ISO containers, but the homeless problem isn't necessarily due to a lack of "homes".
      If you have "land", then the ubiquitous "single wide mobile home" is usually a better choice than the "same thing in a shipping container". By the time you turn an ISO into a lodging structure (as many firms do, check

  • What it were tainted with lead, they'd probably have no problem with that... y'know, being China and all that..
  • by elloGov (1217998) on Friday December 20, 2013 @01:03PM (#45747387)
    I'm going to catch the wrath of my fellow flag-wrapped, self-professed "patriotic" American countrymen, but I'm fucking fed up and feel the need to speak up.
    This sick propaganda starts with the media. Fuck reading a story's contents, you give me the color/race, ethnicity, religion, sexual-orientation, wealth/affluence, partisanship of the story (domestic and international), I'll tell you exactly what the reactions of my countrymen will be regardless of the facts. This post-colonial imperialism is sickening and runs through the veins of our society from top to bottom. It creates double standards, domestically and internationally.
    China and its Ministry of Agriculture rejects unapproved goods just like our FDA would. How dare they expect the same as us? Let the smear campaign begin! China executes Uyghur Muslims, all of a sudden China is the best. Why? Because in our hierarchical caste system, China seems ranks higher than Muslims. This is the reality, a single stamp on your forehead of an identity defines one entirely and groups you with a stereotype irrelevant of the facts. And if you think that people are willingly going to accept second-class treatment, you are tripping, keep investing in the military as this is the only way.
    This is exactly why:
    • we are bending over and taking it as our gov't sells out its citizen's right to privacy
    • some rich white kid gets off with "affluenza"
    • Zimmerman, had irrational support cult-like following
    • Snowden, a true patriot, is on the run from his own gov't
    • we have murdered, YES MURDERED, hundreds of thousands of people in many wars
    • Discriminatory anti-Muslim rhetoric is flowing openly. Sikhs are targeted as Muslims, we condemn the acts afterwards because "they aren't even Muslims"
    • ...

    These double standards and injustices go on BECAUSE you permit it to happen. I'm the fucking patriot here, you are just a mindless sheep falling in line, fuck you!

  • "How dare China import lead-tainted goods! Ban!"
    "How dare China ban our GMO exports!"

    American Exceptionalism is Exceptional Hypocrisy.
    • Unless our GMO exports are full of lead (which wouldn't really surprise me), the two aren't equivalent.

  • A country responsible for leaded paint in toys, melamine in pet food and baby milk is refusing corn over GMO concerns ?

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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