Saturday, January 7, 2012
Japan opens up to GM Hawaiian papaya
By Rob Hay
January 06, 2012
Japan has agreed to allow the import of genetically modified papaya from Hawaii
The Japanese government has granted approval for the commercial shipments of genetically modified ‘Rainbow’ papaya from Hawaii, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report.
“This announcement marks the end of a long process that began back in 1999, and the beginning of a new chapter for Hawaiian papaya growers,” the report stated. “The approval of Rainbow papaya is significant because it is the first horticultural biotech product and the first direct-to-consumer food product to gain regulatory approval in Japan.”
The report continues on to state that at its peak in 1996 Hawaii shipped nearly US$15m worth of conventional papaya to Japan.
The move to biotech papaya varieties in Hawaii came about when the ringspot virus devastated the industry there in 1996. Japan did not initially approve the import of biotech varieties, which saw imports from Hawaii fall from an average of US$10m a year to just US$2m a year.