China continues to show a lack of regard for human health with the news that a Chinese biotech seed company is planting corn seeds that have been genetically modified. If you think they are growing this abomination in Beijing because the company in question, Origin Agritech Ltd, is based there, think again. They are actually planting them right here in America at a USDA greenhouse.
The firm is hoping to launch what will be the first Chinese GMO corn products in our country. Field tests are set for next summer that will make use of herbicide tolerance and insect resistance technologies that were developed in the communist nation.
The company recently opened its first office outside of China in Des Moines in a move that CEO Bill Niebur, who once worked for Dupont Pioneer, said will help them transition from a firm focused on selling seeds to one that sells seed genetics to other companies.
The global biotech seed industry, which is highly competitive, has been dominated mostly by Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer until now, and Origin Agritech will be looking to establish a foothold in the market. Meanwhile, the China National Chemical Corp has reached an agreement to buy Syngenta for $43 billion, indicating that Chinese players are extremely serious about entering the U.S. market.
China wants to become GMO superpower
Despite China’s extremely poor track record when it comes to pollution, GMO food has not been widely embraced there. In fact, the country’s biggest province in terms of grain production, Heilongjiang, has announced a five-year ban on the growing, processing and selling of GM crops, even as the central government positions itself to turn the country into a GMO superpower.
The cultivation of GMO crops is not currently allowed in China, with an exception being made for papaya and cotton. GMO soybeans can be imported for animal feed use. However, the ban comes after Beijing announced plans to start developing GMO crops like corn and soybeans as the president called for China to “dominate the high points of GMO techniques.” The Heilongjiang ban will apply not only to soybeans and corn but also rice.
China and Monsanto have a lot in common
It shouldn’t be too surprising that China aspires to become more like one of the world’s most evil corporations, Monsanto. After all, they have a lot in common, particularly their disregard for human health. Monsanto has known for at least 35 years about the link between the main ingredient in its Roundup weed killer, glyphosate, and cancer in humans – they just don’t seem to care. The World Health Organization classifies it as a “probable” carcinogen, which is bad enough, but there is enough evidence that many scientists believe it is a clear carcinogen.
China has a similar fondness for putting profits over people’s well-being. When levels of lead, a toxic heavy metal, in China’s water supply were recently found to be 700 times the national limit, residents in the affected town of Jixi reported that officials take extreme measures to protect the graphite mining firms and look the other way when they contaminate the water and air because it is so lucrative. If they don’t care about clean water and air, it makes perfect sense that GMO crops wouldn’t bother them, either.