McDonald’s China: no GM potatoes

By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-11 1:03:01

McDonald's China has denied that it has imported or used genetically engineered potatoes after the US Department of Agriculture approved a genetically modified (GM) potato developed by a McDonald's supplier.

"McDonald's China does not use genetically modified potatoes. The potatoes that McDonald's China uses are in line with the national laws and regulations," the public relations department of McDonald's China told the Global Times Monday.

The US Department of Agriculture approved the first genetically modified potato for commercial planting on November 7. The potato was developed by the J.R. Simplot Company and is engineered to resist bruising and contain fewer carcinogens.

The Idaho-based company is one of the biggest French fries suppliers in the world. Its products are distributed to many countries including China, Australia and Canada.

However, according to McDonald's China's website, J.R. Simplot Company provides frozen hash browns to the company's restaurants in China, while the potatoes for its French fries are provided by another supplier.

Luo Yunbo, a GM food expert with China Agricultural University, told the Global Times that customers should not be worried about consuming genetically engineered food because they have been proven not to harm human health and are widely used in Western countries.

"Many organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration of the US and the European Food Safety Authority have stated that GM foods are safer to consume than normal food," he said.

In July, China's agricultural ministry vowed zero tolerance and harsh punishments for illegal sales and growing of GM crops.

Chen Xiaohua, a deputy minister for agriculture, said that the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to scrutinize the commercial production of GM food and has set no timetable for the commercial production of GM food, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

McDonald's use of GM food also drew attention in April, when it admitted to using chickens raised on genetically modified feed, but said that it would not affect the food's quality and safety.

There are more than 2,000 McDonald's restaurants on the Chinese mainland.

In August, McDonald's China were involved in a food scandal that saw its supplier Shanghai Husi, a subsidiary of a US-based OSI Group, use expired meat and doctored food production dates.


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