Consumer groups yesterday protested against the use of genetically modified (GM) soybeans as human food, saying less than 3 percent of soybeans on the market are natural and urging the government to ban GM food for human consumption to prevent potential health risks.
The protest in front of the Legislative Yuan was part of the March Against Monsanto, an international movement against the multinational producer of GM seeds and glyphosate-based herbicide.
Members of the Homemakers United Foundation performed a skit showing how GM crops produced by Monsanto could withstand herbicides the company manufactured, while other “natural” plants and weeds withered when exposed to the herbicides.
Photo: Chen Wei-han, Taipei Times
“Nearly 98 percent of Taiwan’s soybean imports are GM products according to Food and Drug Administration statistics. However, Japan, which is also a leading soybean importer, prohibits GM beans from being used as human food. The government should learn from Japan and limit the use of GM soybeans to protect public health,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) said.
The incidence of food allergies in children has increased from 8 percent 20 years ago to 50 percent today, which has been associated with the consumption of GM food products, Chang Gung University toxicology professor Lin Chung-yin (林中英) said.
Many food additives, such as syrup and thickening agents, are made with GM organisms, so it is highly recommended that the government ban GM products as human food, Lin said.
National Taiwan University agronomy professor Warren Kuo (郭華仁) said most imported soybeans are not food-grade beans, but a mixture of feed-grade beans and beans used to produce oil, all of which are genetically modified and fed to the public.
“People do not know they are eating feed-grade beans because of the lack of mandatory labeling laws on such beans. Feed-grade GM beans contain lower protein content, but are high in glyphosate, a widely used herbicide that is possibly carcinogenic,” Kuo said.
The nation requires feed-grade corns, but not feed-grade soybeans, to be labeled, Kuo said, calling for the mandatory labeling of beans.
The maximum residue limit for glyphosate in soybeans is 10 part per million (ppm), which is 100 times higher than the glyphosate limit for rice at 0.1ppm.
“The glyphosate limit for soybean is set based on the American and European standards at 20ppm, but soybean is a staple food in Taiwan, so the limit should be substantially lowered,” Kuo said.
A recent US trade report took Taiwan’s mandatory labeling of GM food products and a ban on GM products from school lunches as a trade barrier, and the government might yield to US pressure in future negotiations, so the public must stand more firmly against GM organisms, DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
Measures have been taken to minimize damage from Chinese espionage, the Ministry of National Defense said on Monday, in response to an alleged plan to deliver a Chinook helicopter to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese-language CTWANT magazine earlier in the day reported that a lieutenant colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝) was approached by Chinese officers with an offer to evacuate his family to Thailand in the event of a cross-strait conflict. In exchange, Hsieh was asked to fly a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Taiwan Strait, the magazine said. Hsieh initially declined, but accepted after he was
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had