Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Taiwan Bans GMOs in Schools, Mandates Strict Label Laws

Food
Taiwan Bans GMOs in Schools, Mandates Strict Label Laws

Another country is taking action on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Taiwan has banned schools across the nation from serving GMOs to students, citing health and safety concerns.

On Dec. 14, 2015, Taiwanese legislature passed amendments to the School Health Act to stamp out raw genetically modified ingredients as well as processed food containing GMOs.

The ban affects cafeterias and food stands in every elementary school, middle school and high school in Taiwan, The China Post reported. Schools have traditionally served food products such as soybeans, corn, salmon, tofu and soy milk that contain GMOs.

"Soy is a major ingredient in Taiwan's school lunches," said Lin Shu-fen of the Democratic Progressive Party, who advocated for the passage of the bill. "Genetically modified soy has been shown to contains toxic residue from pesticides."

It's not just schoolchildren eating tons of GMO soy. Taiwan, as a whole, is a large consumer of the crop. According to Agri-View, "Taiwan consumes more than 8 million bushels of soybeans used in soy foods. Ninety-five percent of those 8 million bushels originate in the U.S., and 7.2 million bushels of those soybeans are GMO soybeans from the U.S."

Lin also said that most genetically modified crops are grown using chemical herbicides and stored and shipped through a procedure fit for animal feed, according to Focus Taiwan.

Lin also argued that if such crops were used in meals for schoolchildren, it would have a huge impact on their physical and psychological health.

Education Minister Wu Se-hwa reportedly said that the Taiwanese government is very concerned about students' health and encouraged schools to prioritize locally grown farm produce and food ingredients instead.

The Ministry of Education indicted that the new GMO ban will start next semester at the earliest and result in a price hike of around NT$5 per meal (about US$0.15), the China Post reported.

As a result, the Ministry of Education’s budget for subsidizing school meals for 262,000 financially disadvantaged elementary and junior school students will increase by NT$235.8 million (US$7.17 million) a year, a Ministry official said.

Taiwan is known for being notoriously skeptical of GMOs. About a year ago, the country passed their Food Act Amendments that placed major regulations on bioengineered food products being sold in the country, such as the mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs.

Here are six main points of the decree as described by Natural News:

1. Requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs on all food products that contain 3 percent or more GMOs. Foods that use no GMOs may be labeled “non-GMO” ... and many already are, causing their sales to skyrocket across Taiwan. Just last year, imports of non-GMO soybeans to Taiwan grew nearly 300 percent to 58,000 tons.

2. Limiting the use of food additives to just 799 compounds approved by the Taiwan FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. The FDA of the United States, by comparison, allows tens of thousands of chemicals to be used as additives, even when they are well known to cause cancer.

3. All GMO ingredients are required to be registered with the Taiwan government, and food manufacturers that use GMOs are required to establish an origins tracking system to identify where those GMOs originated.

4. All the soy milk, tofu, miso and other soy-derived products sold everywhere across the country—including at cafes and street food vendors—must be clearly labeled as GMOs if they use genetically modified soy.

5. Food products made using genetically modified soy as a processing agent or blended ingredient must also label their final food products as GMO, even if the soybean oil is not, itself, the final product.

6. Fines for violating these food safety provisions have been set at NT$50 million (about US$1.5 million).

Last November, Taiwan banned the import of GMO salmon from the U.S. shortly after it was approved by the U.S. FDA.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Nestle, Pepsi Fined for Concealing GMOs as Campbell Soup Announces Voluntary Label

Organic Farmers Win GMO Fight in Jackson County, Oregon

Monsanto and Gates Foundation Pressure Kenya to Lift Ban on GMOs

We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food!

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less