Taiwan Just Banned GMOs in School Cafeteria Lunches


By Heather Callaghan

Today in Taiwan, the Legislature  effectively banned the use of genetically modified food ingredients – or processed food with such ingredients – in school meals. Some amendments were made to the School Health Act by the amendment sponsors that would halt the use of GMOs in food prepared for students.

The Central News Agency in tandem with Focus Taiwan announced the report on December 14th, citing health concerns as a reason for officials sponsoring a bill that altered the Act, and calling the consumption of GMOs a “hidden food safety crisis.”

One of the amendment’s sponsors, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen said that Taiwan imports more than 2.3 million tons of soybean each year and that 90 percent is either GMO or “animal feed” products. He echoes the health and safety concern over untested GM products on children saying most genetically engineered crops are grown using chemical herbicides and are “shipped through a procedure fit for animal feed.” He argued that if such crops were used in food for schoolchildren “it would have a huge impact on their physical and psychological health.”

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Legislator Lu Shiow-yen of the Kuomintang is quoted as saying,

If young students consume foods that are made from genetically modified primary ingredients, it is tantamount to a hidden food safety crisis because they are exposed to unnecessary risks.

Essentially, the best way to ensure the future of student health and protect their safety in their opinion – was to simply rid the schools of GMOs and scrap them altogether.

Focus Taiwan reports:

While the amendments were being debated at the Legislature, Education Minister Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said the government was very concerned about students’ health and had encouraged schools to prioritize the use of locally grown farm produce and food ingredients.

Taipei’s Department of Education said 103 of the city’s 235 schools had already opted against GM food ingredients. For the other 132 schools, changing their policies as required by the new provisions to the act will force them to spend an additional NT$2 to NT$3 for each meal.

Unfortunately, even in Taiwan, when the GMO-free meals finally become available next semester, the prices are expected to go up. There should not be a fine to eat GMO-free food.

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Believe it or not, the Taiwanese government is willing to spend the extra millions to subsidize the necessary amount of meals for Taiwan’s poverty-stricken students. With hope, the funds are available and do not pinch Taiwan’s people much more until their market is running on GMO-free imports.

Regardless, the above attitude is quite a different attitude than that pushed by the U.S. media and the biotech industry – that GMOs should be forced on the poor (and public school children, nursing homes, hospitals and prisons) in order to “feed the world” – as though the poor are lower-class human beings. “Eat it or starve” is the industry line, despite the world’s people pushing their plates away and paying more for wholesome food.

Taiwanese officials are at least behaving thoughtfully – they are going the extra mile when it comes to untested foods given to children.

This article (Taiwan Just Banned GMOs in School Cafeteria Lunches) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Heather Callaghan and Natural Blaze.com.

Heather Callaghan is an independent researcher, natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com. Like at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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