Genetically modified dairy products in Chinese markets soon

March 22nd, 2011 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 22 (IANS) People in China may soon find genetically modified (GM) dairy products, which are similar to human milk, being available in the Chinese markets, a biotechnology expert has predicted.

These are hoped to be available in the market within the next two years.

Chinese scientists have created a herd of over 200 cows, who can produce milk that contains the characteristics of human milk. The technology is at the cutting edge worldwide and will ensure “healthy protein contained in human milk is affordable for ordinary consumers”, China Daily quoted Li Ning, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering as saying.

Li, who is also director of the State Key Laboratories for Agro Biotechnology at China Agricultural University, says progress in the field is underway.

“The milk tastes stronger than normal milk,” says Li and adds: “Within 10 years, people will be able to pick up these human-milk-like products at the supermarket.”

“In ancient China, only the emperor and the empress could drink human milk throughout their lives, which was believed to be the height of opulence,” says Li and asks: “Why not make that kind of milk more available for ordinary people?”

Human milk contains two kinds of nutrition that can help improve the immune systems and the central nervous systems of children. The components are not available in milk produced by goats or cows.

The scientific world had not previously found a way to mass-produce those ingredients. The GM milk will be as safe to drink as that of the ordinary cows, he added.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture issued bio-safety examination certificates for the GM herd in March 2010, giving the scientific team a 22-month period during which the technology can be tested in laboratories.

The ministry will then evaluate the results of the tests before deciding whether to allow the milk to be sold.

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