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Ostensibly anti-biotech food policy in Thailand, Philippines

(April 9, 2001 --Cropchoice news) -- One Asian government has issued a blow to transgenic foods just as the leadership of another comes under fire for its opposition to the technology.

Thailand decided to stop field trials of transgenic cotton and corn that Monsanto had initiated. This comes on the heels of its policy banning all commercial cultivation of transgenic crops. With this move, the Thai government hopes to protect the economic fortunes of farmers and biodiversity.

Meanwhile, the Crop Protection Association of the Philippines (CPAP) and members of the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines (NAST) are urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to reconsider her stand against continued transgenic field trials.

The groups argued that the National Committee on Bio safety of the Philippines (NCBP) has issued guidelines ensuring the safety of transgenic experiments.

So far, this committee has allowed only two companies, Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines and Agroseed Corp, a Monsanto subsidiary, to experiment with field trials of Bt corn, a transgenic product that contains the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, which kills the Asiatic corn borer.

The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) and the Health Department's Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) are drawing up the guidelines that the Philippine government will use to regulate the commercialization of food and animal feed products that are developed with biotechnology.

Sources: Reuters, Just-Food.com