Greenpeace slams Ministry of Agriculture for failure to eliminate GMO papaya contamination

Feature story - July 28, 2006
Greenpeace activists brought papaya seedlings which bear tags that say "GMO?" in front of the MOA office to signify that Thailand's papayas remain threatened by GMO contamination.

Greenpeace activists brought papaya seedlings which bear tags that say "GMO?" in front of the MOA office to signify that Thailand's papayas remain threatened by GMO contamination.

Greenpeace activists brought papaya seedlings which bear tags that say "GMO?" in front of the MOA office to signify that Thailand's papayas remain threatened by GMO contamination.

Greenpeace today slammed the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for failure to contain and eliminate the widespread contamination caused by genetically-engineered papaya in the country,two years after the contamination was publicly exposed. Greenpeace activists brought papaya seedlings which bear tags that say "GMO?" in front of the MOA office to signify that Thailand's papayas remain threatened by GMO contamination. "Greenpeace, consumer groups, human rights groups and farmer groups have done everything possible to get the MOA to act on the problem ofGMO contamination. The government, however, ignored these calls and failed to implement a comprehensive decontamination process to rid our farms of GMO papayas," said Patwajee Srisuwan of Greenpeace.

On July 27, 2004, Greenpeace revealed that a government research station in Khon Kaen illegally distributed GMO-contaminated papaya seeds and seedlings to the public. Contamination spread quickly. Investigations conducted separately by Greenpeace, the National Human Rights Commission and farmer groups found GMO-contaminated farms in  the provinces of Rayong, Kamphaeng Phet, Kalasin, Chaiyaphum, Mahasarakham and Ubonratchathani.

This sent negative signals to the markets of Japan and EU where consumer rejection for GMOs is very high.

Contact information

  • Patwajee Srisuwan, Genetic Engineering campaigner, +661 381 5367 Ua-phan Chamnan-ua, Media officer, +661 928 2426

But while Thailand has an existing ban on the planting and sale of genetically engineered crops, several GMO trial plots still exist in the country.

"The MOA must put an end to all field trials in the country because  they're the cause of GMO contamination in our farms. It must also reveal all documents pertaining to GMO papaya contamination. A neutral agency must also be created to formulate and enforce a national biosafety law, and with the interest of the Thai people and the environment as its priority," said Patwajee.

Full copy of the "Contamination by Genetically Engineered Papaya in Thailand" report can be downloaded from www.greenpeace.or.th