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Imports of genetically modified rice will not be allowed: COA


    The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Wednesday denied recent media reports that Taiwan might allow the importation of genetically modified rice from the United States.

    In the interest of protecting Taiwan's agricultural production and the development of local  industries, the government does not favor importing genetically modified (GM) rice, although it has to abide by the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which allocates a quota of foreign rice imports every year to Taiwan, the COA said in a statement.

    Although the Department of Health (DOH) is preparing to include some genetically engineered food items such as rice and papayas in its food safety assessment operations, this does not mean that they will be allowed on the local market, the COA said.

    Foreign interests that wish to cultivate, promote or sell GM crops in Taiwan still have to go through strict screening by both the COA and the DOH, the Council said.

    The regulations will not be lifted to allow such crops to enter Taiwan, the Council stressed, and adding that any foreign country hoping to export long grain rice to Taiwan will be required to submit official documents to verify the crop's genetic makeup.

    Taiwan's development of GM crops will focus on products which will not be used for food, it added.

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