The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Major Blow to Soy Industry as Chinese Grow Wary of GMOs
Despite the Chinese government's assurances that genetically modified (GMO) foods are safe, Chinese consumers are growing increasingly wary of the products, fueling a looming crisis for the country's lucrative soybean crushing industry as non-GMO alternatives become more popular, Reuters reported.
Sales of the nation's primary cooking oil, soy oil—most of which is made from imported GMO soybeans—have taken a hit. According to data from Euromonitor, retail sales of soy oil fell one percent last year to 35.7 billion yuan ($5.19 billion), compared to a growth of between two and six percent for alternatives such as non-GMO soy, sunflower, peanut or sesame.
Johnny An, the supply chain director of Aramark, which services more than 60 Chinese cities, told Reuters that "non-GMO oil is gradually replacing (soy oil)."
More than half of Aramark's customers are now asking for GMO-free oil, compared to 10-20 percent just a few years ago, An added.
A Nielsen survey last year found that 70 percent of consumers in China limit or avoid at least some GMO foods and ingredients, compared with a global average of 64 percent.
China has strict rules against GMO cultivation but permits the import of a few varieties, including soybeans which are used for animal feed and for oil.
But China Agri Industries, one of the country's top soybean crushers, told Reuters it needs to improve its sourcing of non-GMO materials to meet "escalating market demand."
In recent years, the Chinese government has been spending billions on research and promoting GMOs as a means to boost agricultural productivity. President Xi himself called for the domestic cultivation of GMO crops in 2014.
However, China's well-known food safety woes have caused widespread consumer distrust of domestic food products.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?
By Carey Gillam
Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.
With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.
Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.
Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.