China Looks Into Use Of Children In GMO Study

golden riceChinese state media has revealed that the country’s health authorities will investigate allegations that a research project tested genetically modified (GMO) rice using Chinese children. It is known that one researcher has been suspended by Chinese authorities while investigations are being carried out.

Tension around the story is high as China has such a strong association with GMO foods. China is already the world’s largest grower of GMO cotton and the top importer of GMO soybeans. However, while Beijing has already approved the growth of strains of GMO rice, it is still uneasy about introducing the technology on a commercial level. The widespread public concern about the safety of GMO food is still a major problem.

The investigation has been forced to take place after a report last month by Greenpeace alleged that a study backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture used 24 Chinese children to test genetically modified “golden rice”. Golden rice is a new form of rice that contains beta carotene. It is hoped that it will be able to be used to alleviate vitamin A deficiency.

The Chinese authorities have said no domestic institutions had been approved to participate in the research. It has now been revealed that it has also asked Tufts University in the United States to help investigate the potential problem.

While GMO foods have been touted as a way to solve a number of problems surrounding foods, but there have been worries about their safety. There has been outrage that children may have been used to test their safety. If it is revealed that children were indeed used then China may have to seriously revamp their health authorities to ensure that this sort of thing never happens again.

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