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China to pass new rules for labelling of GMO crops used in food, media reports say

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Writes through with details

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) -China is expected to pass new rules this year for the labellingof genetically-modified crops used in food products, government-backed The Paper reported on Wednesday.

The regulation of the use of GM crops in food comes as China paves the way for commercial planting of higher-yielding GM varieties to secure its food security.

In the new rules, China will change its labelling method of GM crops in food to "quantitative labelling" from "qualitative labelling", The Paper said.

That would require manufacturers to disclose if a product contains genetically-modified material exceeding 3% of the mass of the product.

It would be applicable for soybeans, corn, rapeseed cottonseed, alfafa and papaya.

Previous rules stipulated mandatory labelling as long as the product contained or was processed from GM crops.

"The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs emphasized that the labeling of GM products is to protect consumers' right to know and right to choose," the report said.

"GM products that have been approved for marketing have passed safety evaluation and obtained safety licenses, and there are no problems with its safety," it said.

China mostly imports GM crops such as corn and soybeans for animal feed and grow non-GM varieties for food consumption. Many Chinese consumers are concerned about the safety of GM food crops.

The agriculture ministry on Tuesday expanded its list of approved GM crops for planting to 27 corn and three soybean varieties.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kim Coghill


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