From Bio Journal - April 2009

80% of consumers reject GM soy foods

In the results of an awareness survey conducted by MAFF released on 24 February 2009, nearly 80% of consumers said they would buy non-GM soy foods even if the price were higher. Conducted in September 2008, the survey received replies from 86.3% of the 1500 subjects. The percentage of respondents who said they would not want to consume foods that contained GM soy even if they were cheaper were 78.1% for tofu, 77.9% for natto (a fermented soybean food), and 76% for soy sauce and miso. 60% of respondents said that they choose domestically produced (non-GM) soy products.
(Japan Agricultural Newspaper 2009/02/25)

Development of the pollen allergy alleviating GM rice to be shelved

It now looks as though the development of the pollen allergy alleviating rice that MAFF has spent a massive 670 million yen developing is to be suspended. (See BJ October 2008) MAFF froze the budget for the rice development in fiscal year 2008, and now that they have failed to find a private company partner the project is certain to be shelved.
(Asahi Shimbun 2009/02/28)

Investigative committee evaluates somatic dell cloned livestock as safe to eat

The commercialization of somatic cell cloned livestock is approaching. Discussion on the safety of somatic cell cloned livestock for use as human food was commissioned by MHLW to the Food Safety Commission's specialist working panel of the investigating committee on newly developed foods (see BJ February 2009). The working panel submitted its report evaluating somatic cell cloned livestock as safe for use as human food on 19 January 2009, and this was followed by approval by the investigating committee on 24 February, and then formal safety evaluation by the Food Safety Commission on 12 March. Somatic cell cloned livestock will be formally approved for human consumption following the solicitation of public comments.

The next question will focus on labeling, but since fertilized ova cloned livestock have already been commercialized for human consumption under a voluntary labeling system, there is a strong possibility that somatic cell cloned livestock products will also be marketed under a voluntary labeling system.

GM crop approvals for March 2009

GM crops approved for open field cultivation (Type 1 usage)
(Biodiversity Impact Assessment Investigative Commission)
NameApproval Date*
MaizeHerbicide and acetolactate synthase inhibitor toleranceDuPontDP-098140-6, OECD UI: DP-098140-610 March 2009
SoybeanHigh oleic acid content and herbicide acetolactate synthase inhibitor toleranceDuPontDP-305423-1, OECD UI: DP-305423-110 March 2009
SoybeanLow saturalted fatty acid, high oleic acid, and herbicide toleranceMonsanto Japan Ltd.MON87705, OECD UI: MON87705-610 March 2009
* Technically, approval is granted after public comments have been accepted.

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