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3-Food: Japan likely to import gene-spliced papayas from Hawaii



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TITLE:  Japan likely to import gene-spliced papayas from Hawaii
SOURCE: Japan Economic Newswire
DATE:   May 13, 1999, 1999

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Japan likely to import gene-spliced papayas from Hawaii

Japan is likely to approve next March imports from Hawaii of
papayas grown using genetic recombination technology, officials
said Thursday. While gene-spliced vegetables, such as soybeans
and corns, are already on the market in Japan, papayas will be
the first  genetically  altered foodstuff to be directly eaten by
Japanese consumers without prior processing, the officials said.
With Hawaiian growers starting shipments of gene-spliced papayas
to the continental United States and Canada in autumn last year,
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries  has
planted them for safety examinations expected in February next
year. Since the U.S. has found no harmful effects as a result of
actual consumption by American consumers, the ministry is
expected to approve imports in March, the ministry officials
said. Japan relies on the U.S. for some 90% of its papaya
imports, which totaled 46.7 million tons in 1998. But imports
from the Philippines and Fiji have increased over the past few
years due to a drop in harvests in Hawaii caused by harmful
insects. Hawaiian growers therefore are promoting production of
gene-spliced papayas resistant to harmful insects.



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