Business Intelligence on Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism in China

Greenpeace: Supermarkets Adopt Double Standard In China

Japanese food producer Glico and German retail chain Metro were found to be selling genetically engineered food products in China, according to a test by Greenpeace.

The environmental group has criticized the two companies for having a double-standard policy, and demanded them to adopt a non-GE policy in China. Twenty-one food samples were collected from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai by Greenpeace in April and May. Greenpeace says they were tested by Hong Kong DNA Chips, an independent laboratory. The results showed the presence of GE ingredients in four Glico snack food products and one Metro's own brand biscuit product. Both companies say they adopt a non-GE policy in their own countries.

"Like Japanese and German consumers, Chinese consumers do not want GE food. Glico and Metro should stop having double standards and apply their non-GE policy to China as well,” said Greenpeace campaigner Lorena Luo.

Kraft Foods, the world's second largest food producer, has adopted a non-GE policy in mainland China after its products were found to contain GE ingredients last year.

"Kraft Foods has chosen to go with the demand of Chinese consumers. We demand other food companies to follow Kraft's example," said Luo.

According to Greenpeace, a recent consumer survey conducted by IPSOS shows that Chinese consumers are uneasy about GE food. A total of 65% of the respondents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou show a clear preference for non-GE food while 97% deem it necessary to have a mandatory labeling system. However, most processed food products are not required to label their GE ingredients under the current Chinese regulations.
Greenpeace is also calling on the Chinese government to improve its labeling regulation to protect consumers' right to informed choices when shopping.

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