According to our campaigner Jeremy Tager, the decision resulted
from a "massive backlash against the GE industry following recent
scandals." Illegal and unapproved GE rice varieties from the US and
China have contaminated the global rice supply, with disastrous
results for many growers, distributors, and traders.
Last week, a historic meeting between the powerful Rice
Exporters Association of Thailand and the Vietnam Food Association
resulted in the joint announcement of a non-GE rice production
policy. More than 30 of the largest rice producers and traders in
Thailand and Vietnam were present to endorse the agreement. Only
days earlier in India (the world's third largest
exporterof rice), the representative body for India's rice
exportersannounced they too were supporting a ban on GE rice field
trials because of the threat they pose to their GE-free export
markets. The Indian government has yet to take action to ban field
Thailand has shown the world that it can lead in rice production
without GE rice. As a key agricultural producer, Thailand stands to
benefit more if it stops all open-field GE crop trials and declares
a GE-free policy once and for all.
We are eating the GE industry's experiments
Rice production accounts for11 percent of the world's
arable land, or 500 million hectares, 90percent of which is
produced on Asian farms of less than onehectare.
Stopping field trials is important because the results of GE
rice experiments don't seem to be containable: they keep turning up
where they're not welcome. Even as news of the Thailand Vietnam
accord was breaking, we uncovered yet another major contamination,
this time in the Philippines, where rice is the staple food.
Bayer's LL601 has contaminated rice products coming from the US,
which are currently on sale in Manila. So far in 2006, this
unapproved and illegal variety has been found in at least 24
countries. Last week contamination was announced in several
countries in Africa.
Bayer ended field trials of the LL601 variety in the US five
years ago. The global food industry is now facing massive costs
associated with GE contamination, including testing costs, product
recalls, brand damage, import bans and cancelled imports and
At least five multi-million dollar class-action lawsuits have
been filed by about 300 US rice farmers against Bayer, as they
struggle to protect their livelihoods from GE contamination.
Importers are banning it too
Rice has been part of our staple diet around the world for over
10,000 years, it is cultivated in 113 countries - in China alone
there are 75,000 varieties. Studies of the potential ecological
risks of GE rice show that there is a high risk of 'transgene
escape' (gene flow) from GE rice to non-GE rice varieties. Research
also shows that GE rice out-crossing may threaten wild rice
The world's largest rice processing company, Ebro Puleva has
stopped all imports of rice from the US and is expected to bring
legal action against Bayer as well. Ebro Puleva controls 30 percent
of the EU rice market.
This move is only one of dozens by traders, millers, exporters,
producers and retailers to protect themselves and their customers
from unwanted GE foods.
Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and food production that
is grounded in the principles of sustainability, protection of
biodiversity and providing all people access to safe and nutritious
Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology
that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity and poses
unacceptable risks to health.