On August 31, Greenpeace uncovered a study backed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) involving feeding genetically modified (GM) rice to children in Hunan province, China.

Chinese officials in Hunan immediately denied that the study had taken place but a few days later, a representative from Tufts University in the United States confirmed that they had indeed tested a new strain of GM rice on Chinese children in rural areas of Hunan.

Whoops! Looks like someone’s a tattletale.

According to a university representative, 72 children between the ages of six and eight were fed either genetically modified “golden rice,” spinach or carotene capsules over a 35-day period, reports The China Daily.

The study was led by a Chinese-American professor, who hoped to prove the GM rice could provide an effective solution to vitamin A deficiency among malnourished children in developing countries.

Tufts University claims they had acquired the consent of both Chinese authorities and all participating children and their parents before starting the trial. Yet officials in Hunan maintain that, while a similar study had been conducted in Hunan, it did not involve feeding children untested GM rice and was done independently without the involvement of an American institute.

Chinese authorities are currently investigating the dispute and say that if there was a US-backed study conducted, it was done without the consent of the Chinese government.

Let’s assume that that Tufts University did carry out the experiment with approval from the Chinese government. It may at first seem strange that China would deny working with American researchers to help end malnourishment. After all, it’s for a good cause, right?

But there are many who argue the risks of GM crops far outweigh their potential benefits – you can check out the Greenpeace article if you want more on that – and, more importantly, China took an official stance against GM crops earlier this year when they banned the distribution of genetically modified rice.

So, from China’s perspective: “Americans Testing Genetically Modified Rice on our Children” doesn’t for the most flattering headline, especially when you just promised to take stamp out GM rice a few months ago.

Source: Record China,