POSTED: 22 DECEMBER 2005 - 8:30pm HST

China touchy on genetically modified food

Kraft to halt sale of genetically modified food in China
21 December 2005 AFX News Limited

Kraft Foods, the world's second-largest food producer, said it will stop using genetically modified (GM) ingredients in all products sold in China from 2007, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The company, controlled by Altria Group, said such decisions are made on a
market-by-market basis considering national regulations, labeling requirements, ingredient availability, production location and consumer preferences, the paper reported without citing a source.

China allows food makers to use genetically modified ingredients. It requires only 17 types of these products, such as soybean oil, to carry disclosure labels. The list does not include any of the packaged foods made by Kraft, the paper said.

Market analysts believe Kraft made the decision because its sales have been adversely affected by concern among Chinese consumers over the safety of GM food, particularly after its Ritz-brand crackers sold on the mainland were reported to contain GM ingredients in March, the paper said.

According to a recent survey conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, 57 pct of Chinese consumers said they prefer non-GM food, while only 16 pct expressed the willingness to try modified products, the paper said.

comment from Laurel: Sierra Club has a campaign targeting Kraft, urging the company not to sell food produced from or containing GE ingredients.