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Controversial Thai GM rules

07-Sep-2001

The Nation reported that consumer and interest groups criticised the Thai Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) draft regulations on the labelling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for benefiting manufacturers over consumers.


According to some consumers during a public hearing on GMO labelling held by the FDA, the draft covered only corn, soybeans and products made from them. But there were many other GM foods available, for example, potato chips, which have not been tested yet as being safe to eat.


The food industry agree with consumers about the fact that the draft regulations on the new regime should have included products made from potato, especially children's foods and snacks produced by the larger food manufacturers. They also warned that meeting those new labelling rules for foods containing GM ingredients would lead to a price increase.


FDA secretary general Vichai Chokviwat said other products would be added to the list later. The purpose of the labels was to "inform" consumers, not to "warn" them that GM foods were harmful to human health, he said.


According to the draft regulations, food products containing GM corn or GM soybeans as one of their three major ingredients making up 5 per cent of total ingredients, must be labelled as "genetically modified corn/soybeans" or "food products containing GM corn/soybean."


Food products sold by small- and medium-scale manufacturers, such as street vendors, directly to consumers are excluded from the draft regulations.

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