Genetically Modified Food Labeling in China: In Pursuit of a Rational Path
71 Food & Drug L.J. 30 (2016)
29 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2017 Last revised: 5 Jan 2018
Date Written: July 1, 2016
Facing a tension between the increasing use of genetically engineered or modified food and consumer concerns over the risks associated with GMOs, China has established a GM food labeling regime through regulations—known as Agro-GMO regulations—to protect consumers’ right to know. However, the design and enforcement of this GM food labeling regime is problematic. As a result, the labeling regime is ineffective and inconsistent, leaving consumers’ rights unprotected. As the recently amended Food Safety Law in China requires GM food labeling for the first time, this article argues that China should replace the current Agro-GMO food labeling scheme with a special regulatory scheme. A comparative analysis of the GM food labeling systems in the European Union and United States, coupled with a rigorous examination of the problems and barriers of GM food labeling in China, sets a solid foundation by which to propose changes to incorporate into a special regulatory scheme. To this end, this article engages in such an analysis and recommends practical steps to guide the enactment of a special regulatory scheme. The recommendations comport with China’s unique legal and political culture, but also could be used by other national regulatory regimes who permit use of GM food while also being committed to improving consumers’ right to know.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation