A study by the No! GMO Campaign has revealed that Japan’s supermarket chains are refusing to sell genetically modified papaya.
The No! GMO Campaign was set up in 1996 to stop genetically modified foods. 16 years later, there is no commercial GM farming in Japan. Consumers and civic groups are continuing the battle against imported GM foods. In December, 2011 the government approved GM papaya and soon, the American producers in Hawaii were promoting the expensive fruit at a trade fair near Tokyo, giving out slices as free samples. The No! GMO Campaign started an effort to investigate if the GM papaya from Hawaii was actually sold in Japan or not.
Citizen and activists all around the country approached their local supermarket chains and the result was revealing. Not a single supermarket chain has decided to introduce the controversial virus-resistant papaya from Hawaii. Could it be that the Americans are hoping that people will simply forget about GM papaya, before they start the marketing introduction?
On July 25, 2012, the No! GMO Campaign sent a press release to thank the 210 supermarket chains, expressing appreciation that they do not sell GM papaya. “We will continue monitoring to make sure that no stores sell GM papaya in Japan, ” says Amagasa Keisuke, No! GMO Campaign director. “Illegal GM papaya seeds from Taiwan were also imported to Okinawa, causing financial damage to papaya growers in Okinawa, southern Japan. The farmers brought GM papaya to the Japanese market without knowing that it was genetically modified. So far, 35 growers were forced to cut down their illegal GM papaya trees,” notes Amagasa Keisuke. Better legal protection is needed to compensate farmers in such unfortunate cases.
Consumer Reaction To Genetically Modified papaya (Dec. 20, 2011)
Non-approved GM papaya distributed in Okinawa and Miyazaki (Apr. 2011)