Keep up with the latest news and comment on genetically modified foods          

2008 articles

Thai jasmine rice free of GMOs

on .

1.Thai jasmine rice free of GMOs, says foreign trade chief

2.Thai jasmine rice free of GMOs, says leading rice biotechnologist

NOTE: This is great news. The Thai Government and rice scientists are stating unequivocally that any work on rice improvement does not involve genetic modification and is instead based on non-GM marker-assisted breeding. This is in response to the article by Dr Suman Sahai on Thai Jasmine Rice in the Bangkok Post on 8 March: http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8855

It's understandable there's been some confusion given statements made in the past on this topic - for instance, this piece in the Bangkok Post:
http://www.nrct.net/eng/print.php?sid=640

The lesson now seems to have been learned. If you're not using GM, then that message needs to go out loud and clear.

EXTRACTS: Thailand's 2007-2011 strategic rice plan stipulates clearly that Thai rice is free of GMOs. The standard test and certification of the GMO-free rice are set in the plan. In addition, Thailand and Vietnam, as major rice exporters, reached agreement that they would neither grow nor try growing GMO rice. (item 1)

We now have several versions of essentially-derived Jasmine rice for flash flooding, disease and insect resistance while salt and drought versions are coming next. We also aim to combine all of these new traits into one Super non-GM Jasmine Rice for poor farmers. (item 2)

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1.Thai jasmine rice free of GMOs, says foreign trade chief
Business News, Thai News Agency, 13 March 2008
http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=3256

BANGKOK, March 13 (TNA) Foreign Trade Department Director-General Apiradee Tantraporn on Thursday denied a report that some of the country's trademark Thai jasmine rice is produced based on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), saying the report is totally groundless.

Her denial came amid the news that Thailand had accelerated a counter test on some jasmine rice after the World Trade Organization made a strict scrutiny of origin of some samples of the commodity.

She said WTO does not require member countries to make counter tests on the origin of products, including Thai jasmine rice.

Mrs.Apiradee dismissed as totally untrue the report that some Thai jasmine rice was found produced based on GMOs.

She emphasised that GMO plants, particularly rice, are not allowed to grow in Thailand since the rice is considered the main food of Thai people and key export of the country.

Thailand's 2007-2011 strategic rice plan stipulates clearly that Thai rice is free of GMOs. The standard test and certification of the GMO-free rice are set in the plan.

In addition, Thailand and Vietnam, as major rice exporters, reached agreement that they would neither grow nor try growing GMO rice.

Because of this, she wanted to affirm that all varieties of rice exported by Thailand are free of GMOs. (TNA)-E005

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2. From: Apichart Vanavichit [mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
To: 'Dr Suman Sahai'
Cc: theerayut toojinda; Theerayut Toojinda; Siriporn (RDDE) Wattanasrirungkul; Somvong Traogonrung (Contact)
Subject: GM tag

Dear Dr Suman

I read your comment about GM tag of Jasmine rice with appreciation of your concern. Your comment caught our attention because rice is not the target crop for GM technology for now and the near future. We are the most active group of rice biotechnologist working on genetic improvement of Jasmine rice using non-GM technology. You can read our success story at http://rice.kps.ku.ac.th. We also agree with you that such a move [genetically engineering Jasmine rice] is unwise and I have never thought anyone at the National Biotech Committee could dare propose such an idea. Our breeding approaches were called marker-assisted selection which utilize molecular marker information for precision breeding.

We now have several versions of essentially-derived Jasmine rice for flash flooding, disease and insect resistance while salt and drought versions are coming next. We also aim to combine all of these new traits into one Super non-GM Jasmine Rice for poor farmers. So I totally agree with your concern and I hope the news was just a misunderstanding.

With regards;
Apichart Vanavichit
Associate Prof and Director of Rice Gene Discovery and Rice Science Center at Kasetsart University and National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology