Chinese Consumers Want GE Food Labeled

Agence France Presse
May 4, 2002

Hong Kong wants genetic food labelled: Greenpeace survey


Environmental campaigners Greenpeace said Saturday most people in Hong Kong
want the government to implement a labelling system to identify genetically
engineered (GE) food.

A survey of 1,000 individuals, commissioned by Greenpeace and conducted by
the Chinese University, found that overall awareness of GE food had risen to
86 percent now compared to 58.5 percent in 1999.

The findings indicated that 71 percent would choose GE-free food over items
containing modified products, while 60 percent of respondents said they pay
10 percent more for GE-free foodstuffs. "Generally speaking, more people in
Hong Kong have become aware of the existence of GE food compared to a few
years ago and there is also an indication that the resistance against this
unannounced GE invasion is slowly but steadily growing," said Greenpeace
campaigner Sze Pan-cheung.

"These are all undeniable facts, which clearly signal Hong Kong people's
strong disapproval of such monster foods."

About nine in 10 respondents wanted the government to implement a labelling
system to identify GE-free products and a similar proportion said both food
manufacturers and supermarkets should inform consumers if their products
were laced with GE ingredients.

"The latest survey has again confirmed that Hong Kong people's resistance in
their fight against these monster foods continues unabated, but
unfortunately their demand seems to be falling on deaf ears with the
government continuing to ignore and write off their request for GE food
labelling and ultimately a GE-free food market," said Sze.

Greenpeace released a guide to GE-free food on Saturday to help shoppers.
No labelling system for GE food, also called genetically modified (GM),
exists yet in Hong Kong, although the government has indicated that a
transitional voluntary labelling system could be set up soon.

GM food labelling is common in Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand
and in European Union countries.

Greenpeace opposes the genetic manipulation of food because of its possible
danger to the environment and human health. There are concerns that GM foods
may trigger new allergic reactions, affect antibiotic treatment or alter the
nutritional value of food.

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