GMO PAPAYA CONTAMINATION Greenpeace sues Department of Agriculture for negligence

Feature story - October 25, 2006
Greenpeace sued the Department of Agriculture and its Director-General, Dr Adisak Sisapkij, for negligence of duty which caused the widespread contamination of Thai farms by illegal genetically engineered papaya. Greenpeace filed the case this morning at the Administrative Court seeking to revoke a DOA order that allows open field trials of GMO papaya and punishment for negligent DOA officials, especially those involved in the distribution of illegal GMO papaya seeds to farmers across the country.

Greenpeace today sued the Department of Agriculture, for negligence of duty which caused the widespread contamination of Thai farms by illegal genetically engineered papaya.

"Greenpeace tried every means to get the DOA to stop this massive GMO papaya contamination and end all GMO field trials, but the DOA and related government agencies failed to act to protect public interest. GMO papaya continues to contaminate our environment. We are asking the court to force government agencies to stop this contamination and punish DOA officials responsible for this huge environmental problem," said Patwajee.


The case lodged by the environment group charged the DOA of negligence of duty by:

a)     allowing open field trials despite being the agency tasked to enforce the Plant Quarantine Act which designates GMO crops as prohibited plants

b)     being the source of illegal GMO papaya. DOA conducts its own open field trials of GMO papaya

c)     failing to control GMO experiments in the country

d)    distributing GMO-contaminated papaya seeds. In 2004, it was discovered by Greenpeace  that officials of the DOA's Khon Kaen Research Station distributed GMO-contaminated papaya seeds to unknowing farmers which resulted into massive GMO contamination


Greenpeace is also asking the Administrative Court to revoke a DOA order allowing GE papaya field trials; end all planting of GMO crops; and order the defendants to decontaminate all suspected GE farms and apply measures to contain the present GMO papaya contamination.


 "The GMO papaya contamination must serve as a lesson to all government agencies who are conducting GMO experiments. GMOs pose threats to the health, environment and livelihood of the Thai people," she added.


Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to drive solutions essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace has been at the forefront of GE decontamination efforts around the world, assisting farmers in Thailand, Hawaii and Philippines to rid their farms of contamination by GE crops which do not have proper assessment for either human food safety or environmental risks.

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