China has recently made headlines with its stringent safeguards against genetically modified, (GM), food and turning away thousands of tons of GM produce from the United States.
Based on consumer complaints of stomach discomfort after consuming GM soybeans the Radiation Medical Science Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and the Beijing Union Hospital commissioned a third party qualified institution to analyze the agricultural chemical residues contained in soybean food oil and soy sauce processed from GM soybeans.
The soybeans analyzed originated from Argentina and contained 3.908 mg/kg glyphosate and 3,364 mg/kg AMPA (a secondary metabolite of glyphosate).
The institute specified that China does not have acceptable minimum standards for agricultural chemical residue levels found in GM soybean food oil, relying instead on the international agricultural chemical residue standard. In order to measure the amount of glyphosate and AMPA that the average consumer is exposed to on a daily basis the institute carried out an analysis of soy sauce samples purchased at supermarkets. The results reflected that soy sauce contained 0.133 mg/kg of Glyphosate and 0.089 mg/kg of AMPA, 3.33 times the level of herbicide residue found in GM soybean food oil.
In May the Chinese military announced that all military supply stations were only allowed the purchase of non-GMO grain and food oil due to health safety concerns over GMOs. Citing the precautionary principle the Hubei Province Xiangyang City website announced:
“During recent years, as China’s grain and oil market has continuously developed, certain GMO grain and GMO food oil products have entered the market. In view that the safety concerns about GMO grain and oil products in China at present has not yet been determined, in order to overall assure the health of military members residing in our city and safety of their drinks and food, in accordance to the request from the Guangzhou Military Command Joint Logistics Department and the Provincial Military Grain & Food Oil Supply Center, from this date all military supply stations are allowed to only purchase non-GMO grain and food oil products from the designated processing enterprises. It is forbidden to supply GMO grain and food oil products to military units within their administration areas.”