Hong Kong’s Consumer Council has urged government officials that a proposed labelling system for GM food does not go far enough, and a more comprehensive and compulsory system is essential. Head of the research and survey division at the watchdog body, Connie Lau Yin-hing, added that monitoring of GM food needs to be increased and labels should be compulsory where GM content in food products exceeds 1%.
Currently, the government has proposed a 5% threshold for labelling, and there are no requirements to label loose foods or meal ingredients in restaurants. The deputy director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Dr Leung Pak-yin, has defended these proposals saying that a 5% level would be more acceptable to the public and the industry.
He added that the system would be reviewed after it has been implemented, however this could take some time as an eighteen-month grace period will first be observed during which labelling is voluntary. This idea was supported by Raymond Wong Sze-chung, associate professor of the biochemistry department at the University of Science and Technology, who said that labelling was only relevant to those consumers who are sensitive to the GM content.