Thailand to Ban GE Seed Imports After Mysterious Shipment
of GE Wheat from the US Arrives in that Country

Thailand To Ban Altered Seeds

The Associated Press
Monday, Oct. 18, 1999; 10:20 a.m. EDT

BANGKOK, Thailand will ban imports of seeds derived from genetically
modified organisms pending clear scientific proof they are safe, Deputy
Prime Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi said Monday.

Thailand, the world's number-one rice exporter and a major producer of
other foods for export, has become increasingly edgy over mounting concerns
about the safety of genetically modified foods.

Fears reached new levels last week when a shipment of
genetically modified wheat believed to be from the United States was
reported to have arrived in Thailand without authorization.

The wheat reportedly came from test plots in the Pacific
Northwest and was never destined for export, though U.S. authorities
later said they were unsure of its origins.

Supachai, who is also trade minister and will head the
World Trade Organization in three years' time, announced the ban
after a meeting of the government's International Economic Relations Policy

The committee agreed to ban the import of genetically
modified organisms in food for commercial purposes, but would allow in such
seeds for research and experiments, Supachai said.

Thailand will also allow the import of grains like corn
and soybean to produce animal feed meal, but they will not be cleared
for human consumption or for cultivation.

The ban will last until the public accepts proof that
genetically modified food provides more benefits than drawbacks, Supachai
said. Many nations are wary of genetically modified foods.

The European Union has banned imports of genetically
modified food from the United States, citing fear over the possible
hazards to consumers and the environment.