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3-Food: Thailand (1): GM-free soy products boom



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  GM scare a boon for local soy sauce firm
SOURCE: The Bangkok Post, by Ploenpote Atthakor
DATE:   October 30, 1999

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Dear GENET-news readers,

a former GENET-member now working in Laos sent me four pieces on
the GE debate in Thailand. It became an hot issue in South-East
Asia in the last year. My guess is that the year 2000 will become
a crucial year for the GE debate outside of Europe. We will read
more about this in GENET-news.

Yours,

Hartmut Meyer

                             *****

GM scare a boon for local soy sauce firm

While global anxieties about genetically modified organisms may
have caused trouble for certain food businesses, Yan Wal Yun, a
soy sauce company whose products are declared GM-free, has
managed to cash in on the situation. Somwang Tangsombatvisit, its
marketing director, pointed out the firm's export volume has
doubled in Europe following the GM scare. Its two biggest markets
are Europe and the United States which account for 40 and 20
percent of the exports, respectively. "Our products are GM-free.
This is because we use local raw materials only," he said.

Local soybean is the firm's comparative advantage as the sauce
making industry in some other countries with no soybean planting
has to depend on imported produce.  The local strains used, known
as SJ 4 and SJ 5, come mainly from Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok
provinces. Mr Somwang said there have been requests from European
importers for the company to confirm its products are GM-free. He
sent the finished products and seeds to the DNA laboratory at
Biotec.

"There are no rules that each shipment must have GM test results.
But we provide the test reports, which were made randomly, to our
customers to ensure there are no transgenic grains in our
products."Mr Somwang said the company chooses the local strains
because they are relatively cheaper since the grain is much
smaller and contains much less oil. He thinks labelling is a good
option to deal with the GM controversy.


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