China's Inspection and Quarantine authority has issued a bulletin ordering its local bureaus to test for the presence of genetically modified material in imported distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and related corn and oilseed processing by-products. Shipments containing unapproved GM material are to be returned or destroyed. This issue has already severely disrupted corn trade over the past month and will now likely disrupt trade in DDGS, a substitute for corn and protein meals that has been gaining in popularity among Chinese feed mills.
The December 24 bulletin notified local inspection and quarantine bureaus that the Shanghai bureau had detected MIR162, a GM corn variety that China has not approved for import, in a shipment of DDGS. Local bureaus were ordered to abandon existing safety risk monitoring plans and begin testing samples of all shipments of corn byproducts for unapproved genetically modified material. Shipments that are found to contain unapproved material are to be returned or destroyed and reported to the national inspection and quarantine authority. The order covers corn-processing byproducts, residuals and meals from processing soybeans, cottonseed, and rapeseed. These are materials used mainly for feed manufacturing (The HS codes include 2303300010, 2303300090, 2304001000, 2304009000, 2306100000, 2306410000, 2306490000; 2304001000; 2304009000; 2306100000; 2306410000; 2306490000.)
Most domestic cottonseed meal is derived from genetically modified varieties (most cotton planted in China is genetically modified), but domestically-produced cottonseed meal is almost certainly not subject to such testing for unapproved varieties.
This move comes about a month after authorities began rejecting corn containing MIR162. According to the article, 600,000 metric tons of corn has been rejected by Chinese inspection and quarantine authorities since November 29. (The article reports that this represented 30 percent of corn imports, but this percentage seems far too low; other reports say 600,000-700,000 tons of corn were scheduled to arrive in December.) The article notes that the rejection of imported corn has given a boost to corn prices in northeastern China.
The article says that DDGS imports have risen this year to nearly 3.5 million metric tons (mmt) for January-November (up from 2.38 mmt for the entirety of 2012). The article says that domestic Chinese DDGS has been in short supply this year because corn-based alcohol production has fallen due to weak demand. Starch processing has also been cut back. Chinese DDGS prices are up and imported DDGS is cheaper. The article says that feed mills have increased their DDGS inclusion rate from 5 percent to 15 percent.