China’s Agriculture Ministry issued biosafety certificates for three new genetically modified (GM) crops, the first batch of such crops to win safety clearance in 10 years.
The three are an insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant corn developed by Beijing Dabeinong Biotechnology Co. Ltd., another corn developed by Hangzhou Ruifeng Biotechnology Ltd., and a herbicide-tolerant soybean developed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
The safety certificates are valid for five years. The approval means the GM crops have been found safe to use, but they still need to get administrative clearance to start production and commercialization.
China granted biosafety certificates to its first GM corn varieties and two GM rice varieties in 2009, but it has never moved to commercialize the crops.
The commercialization of the first GM corn was hindered by the lack of a GM variety verification method, said Chen Rumei, a researcher with the Biotechnology Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and a member of the team that developed the first GM corn. The two GM rice varieties have also been caught up in the verification process for similar reasons.
A person close to the Agriculture Ministry told Caixin that the ministry is studying a verification method for GM crops, but it’s unknown how long it will take.
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