An unidentified official from China’s Ministry of Agriculture denied reports that the Chinese government has given the go-ahead for wide-scale farming of genetically modified crops, according to Reuters news agency. Although China has imported genetically modified grain, seeds and cotton, it used them “as raw materials for processing,” he said.

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His country seeks to develop its own genetically modified crops to reduce reliance on imports, he said. The government has approved field trials for 20 genetically modified crops, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.