GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

APPROVAL & BUSINESS: Japanese approval for GE papaya gives hope for Hawaii’s declining papaya industry



                                  PART 1


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

TITLE:   JAPAN APPROVES GENETICALLY MODIFIED PAPAYAS

SOURCE:  West Hawaii Today, USA

AUTHOR:  Brendan Shriane

URL:     http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/japan-approves-genetically-modified-papayas.html

DATE:    01.09.2011

SUMMARY: "Japanese consumers will likely be seeing genetically modified papayas on their grocery shelves beginning in December. The Japanese government?s Consumer Affairs Agency on Thursday approved rainbow papayas for sale in that country. [...] ?The approval by the Japanese government has been slow but thorough,? Delan Perry, the vice president of the Hawaii Papaya Industry, said. ?They asked a lot of questions.? It?s a process that?s taken 10 years."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


JAPAN APPROVES GENETICALLY MODIFIED PAPAYAS

Japanese consumers will likely be seeing genetically modified papayas on their grocery shelves beginning in December.

The Japanese government?s Consumer Affairs Agency on Thursday approved rainbow papayas for sale in that country.

The papayas had previously been approved by Japan?s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Health, Labour and Welfare ministries. The strain was approved for sale in the U.S. in 1998 and in Canada in 2003.

The Japanese labeling approval was the last step to get the papayas introduced into Japan -- there will be a three-month waiting period before the papayas are available.

?The approval by the Japanese government has been slow but thorough,? Delan Perry, the vice president of the Hawaii Papaya Industry, said. ?They asked a lot of questions.?

It?s a process that?s taken 10 years.

?It?s an important approval as far as the technology,? said Perry, who is a papaya grower in Kapoho.

The papayas were engineered to resist papaya ring spot virus, which was discovered in the Puna area in 1992 and severely damaged crops there.

To create the resistance to the virus, scientists fused the DNA of the virus into the genetic makeup of a papaya, creating a new strain.

Dennis Gonsalves, the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Agricultural Research Service?s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, said it?s similar to a vaccination in animals.

The rainbow?s introduction ?controlled the virus in Hawaii,? Gonsalves said. ?It essentially saved the industry in Hawaii.?

While Gonsalves -- who worked with a group of fellow public sector scientists to create the genetically modified fruit -- and others say the introduction of rainbow papayas was essential, some disagree.

Organizations such as Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety have classified genetically modified foods in general as an environmental and food safety hazard.

Although he had been consulted about the virus while he was still in college, Gonsalves -- a plant virologist by trade -- started in earnest working to create a virus-resistant strain in the 1980s.

His group started its work in anticipation of the virus spreading from the backyards of Hilo -- where it had been prevalent since the 1970s -- to the papaya fields of Puna. They had a successful field test on Oahu a few months before the virus was detected at the papaya fields of Puna. A half-decade later, rainbow papayas earned approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Food and Drug Administration; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The plant has grown in popularity since.

Gonsalves said 80 percent of papayas now grown on Hawaii Island are rainbows.

With Thursday?s approval, the industry has a chance to remake inroads in Japan.

?We?re hoping this gives a boost to the market for Hawaii?s papaya growers,? Gonsalves said.

?I think there?s a lot of potential there,? Perry said. ?Japan has been a good market.?

Gonsalves said Hawaii papaya growers at one time shipped 20 to 25 percent of the crop to Japan.

?We already ship Kapohos,? Perry said of the strain of papaya that was primarily grown by farmers on the Big Island before they were hit by the papaya ring spot virus. ?But they?re very hard to grow.?



                                  PART 2

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

TITLE:   HAWAII TO EXPORT RAINBOW PAPAYAS TO JAPAN

SOURCE:  The Associated Press, USA

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/TECHNOLOGY/Article_2011-09-02-Genetically%20Modified%20Papaya/id-51bc181f935143c5bb83518570f9623a

DATE:    02.09.2011

SUMMARY: "Hawaii?s genetically modified papaya has been approved for export to Japan, an expected boost for the papaya industry here. West Hawaii today reports the Japanese government?s Consumer Affairs Agency approved the papayas for sale in Japan on Thursday."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


HAWAII TO EXPORT RAINBOW PAPAYAS TO JAPAN

HONOLULU (AP) ? Hawaii?s genetically modified papaya has been approved for export to Japan, an expected boost for the papaya industry here. West Hawaii today reports the Japanese government?s Consumer Affairs Agency approved the papayas for sale in Japan on Thursday. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Rainbow papaya would be the first genetically modified fresh fruit imported into Japan. The approval process took 10 years. Dennis Gonsalves of the USDA says the genetically modified papaya is chemically no different than naturally grown papaya. He says the technology saved Hawaii?s papaya industry. The majority of papayas sold in Hawaii are genetically modified to protect crops against ringspot virus. Some who are against the use of biotechnology in crops believe genetically modified foods are not safe.



                                  PART 3

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

TITLE:   GENETICALLY MODIFIED PAPAYA PROBLEMATIC

SOURCE:  The Honolulu Advertiser, USA

AUTHOR:  Sean Hao

URL:     http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2010/Apr/25/bz/hawaii4250343.html

DATE:    25.04.2010

SUMMARY: "Exports of Hawai?i-grown papaya hit at least a 13-year low last year as local growers continued their wait for permission to send genetically modified fruit to Japan. [...] Sales to Japan, once Hawai?i?s largest export market, fell 43 percent to $1.2 million last year from $2.1 million the year before. That?s down from $15.1 million in papaya exports to Japan in 1996, which was two years before genetically modified Rainbow papaya was introduced."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GENETICALLY MODIFIED PAPAYA PROBLEMATIC

Exports of Hawai?i-grown papaya hit at least a 13-year low last year as local growers continued their wait for permission to send genetically modified fruit to Japan.

Papaya exports fell to $5.8 million last year, an 18 percent decline from 2008, according to data from Foreign Trade Zone No. 9, which is the hub for Hawai?i?s international trade.

Sales to Japan, once Hawai?i?s largest export market, fell 43 percent to $1.2 million last year from $2.1 million the year before. That?s down from $15.1 million in papaya exports to Japan in 1996, which was two years before genetically modified Rainbow papaya was introduced.

VICIOUS VIRUS

Developed in part by the University of Hawai?i, genetically modified papaya was designed to be resistant to ring spot virus. Left unchecked, the virus can cut papaya yield and harm the quality of the fruit. Rainbow papaya is credited by many for saving the state?s papaya industry. But critics contend the papaya is a failure because it has yet to generate the market acceptance and higher sales prices that nongenetically modified papayas command.

One barometer for gauging the commercial viability of genetically modified papaya is Japan. Local officials have spent nearly a decade trying to persuade officials there to allow the importation and sale of the modified papaya. That hasn?t occurred yet, though local papaya growers maintain that Japan?s acceptance is coming.

?I don?t think it?s if, I just think it?s when? that approval will come, said Rod Yonemura, a Hilo consultant working for the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association. ?This year I doubt it, but who knows??

Japan remains a critical potential market for Hawai?i because of the high prices papayas fetch there. In Japan a single papaya can sell for as much as $10. In contrast, farm level papaya prices in Hilo typically are less than $1 per papaya.

?It?s a great market for us because it?s a high-yielding market,? said Matthew Loke, administrator for the Agricultural Development Division of the state Agriculture Department. ?They eat papaya like we eat high-end candies. For them it?s a treat, so they?re willing to pay a lot for a good-looking, good-tasting papaya.?

Hawai?i-grown, nongenetically modified papayas continue to sell in Japan. However, 75 percent of papayas grown in Hawai?i are the modified Rainbow variety, which is exported to Canada and to a lesser extent Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Few local nongenetically modified papayas reach maturity without developing the ring spot virus, said O?ahu papaya farmer Ken Kamiya. Even fewer non-genetically modified organism, or GMO, papayas meet strict export-quality standards.

?Right now the growers want to grow for Japan, but the problem is you?re taking the risk of the virus, so the growers have been reluctant to plant a non-GMO,? said Kamiya, who grows the modified papaya. ?You think you can be isolated so you think you can be safe, but boy that virus travels. The virus pressure is very severe.

?If the Japanese get ahold of this Rainbow and it gets accepted, that will become a big boost,? Kamiya said.

Even if Japan allows Hawai?i?s GMO papaya to be imported, the fruit faces another big barrier: consumer acceptance. The GMO Rainbow papaya is sold locally without any label identifying the fruit as a genetically modified product.

In contrast, Japan will require the papayas to be labelled as a genetically modified food. Developing that label as well as procedures for handling the fruit are the main remaining export hurdles, Yonemura said.

Local officials hope the labels won?t deter consumer acceptance.

?It may, but there?s no precedence,? Yonemura said. ?We?ve done some surveys here with tourists and it?s mixed feelings.

?I think the education campaign later on is going to be, ?Hey, why hide it. Rainbow is the perfect fruit through tradition and science. Rainbow is the premier papaya and look for this label.? ?

The ring spot virus was first detected in 1992 on the Big Island, where the bulk of papayas are grown. Papaya production picked up for about three years after the genetically modified papaya was introduced in 1998. Then sales started a gradual decline.

Through August of last year papaya production was down 3 percent from the prior-year period to 19.8 million pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

WRONG DIRECTION

Critics of the modified papaya contend that too much effort is focused on genetically modified produce and that the state would be better off supporting alternative pest management practices and the development of high-value niche products similar to the popular Kona coffee and Maui onion products.

?To me it seems like the U.S. has been kind of twisting the arm of the Japanese personnel to try to get the papaya approved,? said Hector Valenzuela, a University of Hawai?i vegetable extension specialist. ?Even if we get to export it, Hawai?i would be selling itself short. The GMO products right now are not considered in the marketplace to be a high-value item.?

Kamiya and others hope that exports of GMO papayas to Japan and possible European markets could help change that. Concerns about the fruit appear to stem from its genetically modified nature.

Genetic crop research has gone on for decades. It involves combining genetic material from different organisms in hopes of creating higher-yielding, better-tasting crops or hardier crop. Such work also has spurred concerns about potential risks to the environment, people and food supply.

Hawai?i?s GMO papaya passed a key safety hurdle last year when studies and public hearings in Japan were successfully concluded, Kamiya said.

He likened concerns about the papaya to worries about other technical advances such as cell phones and microwave ovens.

?There?s resistance there, but with more knowledge and education it will be accepted. We?ve been selling it since 1998, probably 200 million pounds from Honolulu, and not a single bad case of anything going wrong. It?s perfectly safe,? Kamiya said.



                                  PART 4

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

TITLE:   PAPAYA PRODUCTION TAKING A TUMBLE

SOURCE:  The Honolulu Advertiser, USA

AUTHOR:  Sean Hao

URL:     http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Mar/19/bz/FP603190311.html

DATE:    19.03.2006

SUMMARY: "Hawai?i papaya production sank to a more than 25-year low last year despite record demand among U.S. consumers for the tropical fruit. [...] The genetically modified papaya did not save the industry as its backers contend, [Melanie Bondera, Hawaii Seed] said. ?They?re apparently not looking at the bigger picture of the economic problems that come with it ? the cross-contamination, the market loss, the testing costs,? Bondera said. ?Did we really have a problem that would have killed the industry if we did not have the GMO (genetically modified organism) papaya? That?s their contention. The bottom line is the GMO papaya has never sold for as much as the non-GMO papaya.?"

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


PAPAYA PRODUCTION TAKING A TUMBLE

 

...........................................................................

please download the table "Fewer Papaya Farms Today" and the chart "Papaya Production" at

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2006/Mar/19/M122438318.GIF

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2006/Mar/19/M122444318.JPG

...........................................................................

 

Hawai?i papaya production sank to a more than 25-year low last year despite record demand among U.S. consumers for the tropical fruit.

Americans on average now eat 1 pound of papaya annually, which is up from less than one-third of a pound just 10 years ago. That should bode well for growers of Hawai?i?s second largest fruit crop. However, last year papaya production fell 17 percent to 28.5 million pounds, the smallest crop since before 1980. Sales dipped 14 percent to $10.6 million, the lowest amount since 1985.

Imports from countries such as Mexico and Brazil are helping to fill America?s increasing appetite for papaya.

Hawai?i?s papaya farmers, as with most farmers on the Islands, are dealing with a long list of challenges, including foreign competition, high costs, fickle weather, insects and disease.

?Plenty of people are not growing papaya anymore,? said Alberto Belmes, who grows papaya on about 70 acres of land seven miles outside of Hilo. ?The price is going down and still the costs of farming goes up.?

Unlike most other Hawai?i farmers, papaya growers have one other issue with which to deal. Many Hawai?i papaya growers are raising a genetically engineered product that has yet to generate the market acceptance and higher sales prices that non-genetically modified papayas command. Japan, for example, does not accept genetically modified papaya.

Papaya growers elsewhere are not using the genetically modified product.

Developed in part by the University of Hawai?i, the genetically modified papaya was designed to be resistant to ring spot virus, which results in fewer and lower quality fruit.

The virus was first detected in 1992 on the Big Island, where the bulk of papayas are grown. The genetically modified papaya was introduced in 1998. Papaya production picked up that year and for the following three years. In 2002, production resumed its slide and has declined each year since.

Genetically modified papaya proponents argue that there would be no papaya industry if not for the new variety. They also point out that the widespread use of genetically modified papaya helps control the virus, so non-genetically modified papaya can be grown virus-free.

?I?ve seen the (Big Island papaya) industry go down from the first day it was infected in 1992,? said Dennis Gonsalves, an inventor of the genetically modified papaya and director for the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo. ?If you kept the situation like that the curve would have gone down until it was no longer feasible to grow.?

Environmentalists and other critics contend the virus could have been managed in part by reducing the size of plantings and by diversifying the types of plants grown at any one time. While the genetically modified papaya may reduce problems with the ring spot virus, it introduced other problems by raising the risk of cross-pollination with non-genetically modified and organic papayas. Proponents contend the risks of cross-pollination are manageable.

Nevertheless, the use of genetically modified papaya in Hawai?i results in a more rigorous testing regime for non-modified papaya to maintain exports to markets that don?t accept genetically modified papayas, said Melanie Bondera, a board member for Hawaii Seed, an advocate for sustainable agriculture and a GMO-free Hawai?i.

The genetically modified papaya did not save the industry as its backers contend, Bondera said.

?They?re apparently not looking at the bigger picture of the economic problems that come with it ? the cross-contamination, the market loss, the testing costs,? Bondera said. ?Did we really have a problem that would have killed the industry if we did not have the GMO (genetically modified organism) papaya? That?s their contention. The bottom line is the GMO papaya has never sold for as much as the non-GMO papaya.?

Because Japan doesn?t allow imports of genetically modified papayas, Hawai?i exports of papaya to Japan fell from $10.3 million in 1998 to $4.6 million last year, according to the Foreign Trade Zone Division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. During that time, sales to the second largest importer of Hawai?i papayas ? Canada, which accepts the genetically modified product ? more than doubled to $2.6 million last year.

?In this sense you can say that the GMO is not any good, but you would not even have a market in Japan without GMO papaya,? said Gonsalves.

Canada, Hawai?i and the U.S. Mainland remain big buyers of genetically modified papayas. There are no requirements that genetically modified foods be labeled as such. In Hawai?i, the Kapoho variety of papaya is not genetically modified, while the Rainbow variant is.

With all the challenges facing papaya, the fruit?s rank among major Hawaiian crops is slipping. In 2004, algae, which is used as a nutritional supplement, displaced papaya as the state?s eighth largest commodity with sales of $12.6 million. Papaya was pushed down to ninth place with sales of $12.3 million.

State officials are still urging Japan to accept genetically modified papayas. Meanwhile, some people downplay the ban?s impact.

?We don?t have to get into Japan, if we can get into the U.S.,? said Stephanie Whalen, president of the the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, which provides seeds for genetically modified papaya trees.

Hawai?i?s efforts to expand its share of the Mainland market for papaya has been hampered by several factors including difficulties establishing a genetically modified papaya seed production and payment program, Whalen added.

?The problem is we have small industries that are very difficult to organize,? she said. ?There?s a whole education and learning process that has to grow and develop.?



                                  PART 5

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

TITLE:   PUBLICATION REQUEST: EFFORTS TO DEREGULATE RAINBOW PAPAYA IN JAPAN: MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF TRANSGENE AND VECTOR INSERTS

SOURCE:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USA (USDA - ARS)

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?seq_no_115=236905

DATE:    04.09.2011

SUMMARY: "Transgenic papaya, primarily the Rainbow cultivar, is grown in Hawaii and exported to the mainland U.S. and Canada. Japan is a potential market for the transgenic papaya, but the transgenic papaya must first be deregulated in Japan before this market avenue will be available to Hawaii papaya growers. [...] Deregulation of the transgenic papaya in Japan would provide a significant economic boost to the Hawaiian papaya industry."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


PUBLICATION REQUEST: EFFORTS TO DEREGULATE RAINBOW PAPAYA IN JAPAN: MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF TRANSGENE AND VECTOR INSERTS

Research Project: MOLECULAR RESOURCES FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF TROPICAL CROPS

Location: Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research

Title: Efforts to deregulate Rainbow papaya in Japan: Molecular Characterization of Transgene and Vector Inserts

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae; Publication Type: Proceedings/Symposium; Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2009; Publication Date: January 1, 2010

Citation: Suzuki, J.Y., Tripathi, S., Fermin, G.A., Jan, F., Hou, S., Saw, J.H., Ackerman, C.M., Yu, Q., Schatz, M.C., Pitz, K.Y., Yepes, M., Fitch, M.M., Manshardt, R.M., Slightom, J.L., Ferreira, S.A., Salzberg, S.L., Alam, M., Ming, R., Moore, P.H., Gonsalves, D. 2010. Efforts to deregulate Rainbow papaya in Japan: Molecular Characterization of Transgene and Vector Inserts. Acta Horticulturae. 851:235-240.

 

Interpretive Summary: Transgenic papaya, primarily the Rainbow cultivar, is grown in Hawaii and exported to the mainland U.S. and Canada. Japan is a potential market for the transgenic papaya, but the transgenic papaya must first be deregulated in Japan before this market avenue will be available to Hawaii papaya growers. One of the criteria for getting regulatory approval in Japan is the thorough characterization of the transgenes that were inserted into the papaya during the transformation process. This work summarizes results on the characterization of the transgene inserts that are in the genome of the transgenic papaya. Three inserts were detected: one is the functional gene cassette that imparts resistance to papaya ringspot virus; the second is a fragment of the tetA transgene; and the third is a fragment of the nptII transgene. This information is being used as part of the petition to deregulate the transgenic papaya in Japan. Deregulation of the transgenic papaya in 
 Japan would provide a significant economic boost to the Hawaiian papaya industry.

 

Technical Abstract: Transformation plasmid-derived insert number and insert site sequence in 55-1 line papaya derivatives Rainbow and SunUp was determined as part of a larger petition to allow its import into Japan (Suzuki, et al., 2007, 2008). Three insertions were detected by Southern analysis and their corresponding sequences determined by clones (Fermín, 2002) or via the whole genome shotgun (WGS) sequence database of SunUp (Ming, et al., 2008). All functional transgenes including the coat protein (CP) gene that confers resistance to PRSV, and visible and selectable marker genes, uidA encoding glucuronidase (GUS) and nptII encoding neomycin phosphotransferase II were found in a single 9,789 basepair (bp) insert referred to as the functional transgene. The two other insertion sites consisted of a 290 bp nonfunctional sequence of the nptII gene and a 1,533 bp plasmid-derived fragment containing a nonfunctional 222 bp segment of the tetA gene. Detection of the same three ins
 erts in Rainbow and in samples of SunUp representing transgenic generations five to eight (R5 to R8) suggests that the inserts are stable. Five out of the six genomic DNA segments flanking the three inserts were nuclear plastid sequences (nupts). No changes to endogenous gene function based on sequence structure of the transformation plasmid DNA insertion sites could be determined and no allergenic or toxic proteins were predicted from analysis of the insertion site and flanking genomic DNA. These results should support a positive review of the petition to allow the import and consumption of Rainbow and its derivatives in Japan, which is currently in its final stages. Export of Rainbow papaya to Japan will greatly benefit the local papaya industry in Hawaii and will provide a case for testing consumer acceptance of genetically engineered fresh products in Japan.