The warning comes after a ‘wave’ of genetically modified (GM) papaya was rejected by European Union Border Controls in June.
Richard Werran, Managing Director of Cert ID Europe, noted that Thailand is an important global producer of papaya – with a significant percentage exported primarily to Europe.
“Although genetically modified crops are not permitted in Thailand, there is support for GM technology and it would appear that GM seeds for an EU banned variety of papaya have been illegally distributed to farmers across Thailand,” he suggests.
“Clearly the occurrence of GMOs in Thai papaya is not good news for the country’s export business to Europe because GM papaya is legally not permitted and consumers remain sensitive to GM issues in any case.”
Cert ID said that whilst it is difficult to establish accurate information, there are indications that a significant percentage of Thai cultivated papaya could now be transgenic.
“Cert ID urges EU importers of papaya, papaya derivatives such as juice and papaya containing products not to rely on documentation as verification of non-GM status but to install extra controls such as screening products for GM presence and to consider the additional security and peace of mind Non-GMO certification provides,” said Werran.