China rejects Cameron Highlands fruits with genetic modifications

KUALA LUMPUR • China has rejected some fruits from Cameron Highlands after detecting living modified organism (LMO) in them, a type of genetic modification, a Malaysian minister has said.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the incident came to light after Malaysia was alerted by their counterparts in China.

The fruits were from Cameron Highlands, a cool, hilly area located in central peninsular Malaysia that regularly exports its fruits, vegetables and flowers.

"There was a case where fruits from Cameron Highlands were exported to China. Checks were conducted and the fruits were rejected as they were found to be LMO products," Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi said in Parliament on Wednesday, in reply to a question from an MP.

Common LMO products include agricultural crops that have been genetically modified for greater productivity or for resistance to pests or diseases. Examples of typical modified crops include tomatoes, cassava, corn, cotton and soya beans.

He did not identify the fruits that were rejected by China, or when the incident happened.

Dr Wan Junaidi said Malaysia's National Biosafety Board took note of the incident and ordered that the fruit trees not be planted any more.

He said the board also kept close tabs on the entry of LMO products into the country.

"There are 47 institutions that have their own committees on LMO and report back to the board to ensure that they adhere to guidelines," he added.

He said the board would give approval if the LMO products imported have low risk to health and the environment.

He said that LMO products imported into the country include seeds, animal feed and rice.

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee under the board was responsible for assessing LMO risks, he added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'China rejects Cameron Highlands fruits with genetic modifications'. Print Edition | Subscribe