Hong Kong's much loved soyamilk and hamburgers, among hundreds of other foods, are likely soon to contain DNA from a virus and bacteria which are resistant to weedkiller - and consumers will not know. The Department of Health says it cannot prevent imports of food containing genetically engineered soyabeans about to go on sale in the United States, unless they prove a health danger. But critics say long-term health and environment effects are unknown. Everyone will be eating the beans as more than 60 per cent of processed foods, including cakes, chocolate, salad dressings, margarine, soups and hamburgers, contain soyabean oil or protein. The US supplies 60 per cent of the world's total. The growers say they cannot separate 'gene beans' from normal ones, angering US and European consumer groups who want a choice. Retailers fear boycotts. Soyamilk producer Vitasoy, which uses US beans, said it would have to look into the issue. The beans, which go on sale in a few weeks, contain DNA from a bacterium, a virus and a petunia plant inserted to prevent the plants dying when sprayed with herbicides to kill weeds. The firm that developed the plant, Monsanto, claims the beans are safe and no different to normal ones. But critics say the added material would not normally be eaten and the food produced is unnatural, and food containing the beans should be labelled. Hong Kong only requires food labels to carry a use-by date and ingredients. The territory would watch what happened elsewhere, said a Department of Health spokesman. 'It's a new and advanced technology, so we have to take reference from other countries,' she said. The director of the Centre for Applied Ethics at Baptist University, Professor Gerhold Becker, said: 'I think consumers have the right to know. We have difficulty assessing the risks of this kind of genetically engineered food, and I'd like to know what I'm going to eat.' Greenpeace Hong Kong representative Anne Dingwall said the group would be contacting local stores to find out their sales policy. The group has organised protests against soyabean processors, such as Unilever, worldwide. Monsanto was famous for producing the defoliant Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. 'They said there was no problem with that either,' she said.