On September 26, Greenpeace delivered more than 10,000 postcards to the Thai government urging tougher labelling requirements for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, the Bangkok Post reported.
Vichai Chokevivat, the Thailand's Food & Drug Administration (FDA) secretary-general, met the campaigners. The postcards, collected from Thai consumers this month, expressed concerns about the possible dangers of GMOs and demanded stricter labelling rules. The FDA plans to propose that food products with more than 5 per cent GMO content be labelled. But Greenpeace wants the threshold lowered to 1 per cent.
According to Greenpeace, the threshold proposed by the FDA is too high, and that a 1-per cent level has already been adopted by more than 20 countries. The FDA is gathering information from the public until October 2 for a draft ministerial regulation on labelling, which will go to the public health minister in November.
Dr. Vichai said he shared Greenpeace's concerns but the FDA would take action against GMO products only when there was evidence they were dangerous. "GMO products are fairly new as they have been around just eight years. Nobody can say for sure whether they are dangerous," he said.
Auaiporn Suthonthayakorn, a Greenpeace campaigner, said there was no clear rationale for a 5-per cent threshold, other than the fact that the Japanese had adopted it. "In fact, Japanese consumers have been asking for a change to 1 per cent, in line with the European standard. So why should the new draft propose 5 per cent?" Auaiporn said.
Moreover, if the 5-per cent benchmark were adopted, GMO products exported by Thai producers to Europe would be rejected.
She said there were loopholes in the draft, which covered only products made from soybean and corn. Products made from potato should be included as well, she said.