THE AGRICULTURE and Cooperatives Ministry issued a warning today (June 8) that the import and sale of pink pineapple cultivated by the food company Fresh Del Monte on trial basis in Costa Rica is illegal in Thailand because this is a genetically modified (GMO) crop and the country has a GMO free-policy in place, Amarin TV said.
The issue arose after the Digital Economy and Society Ministry’s Anti-Fake News Centre confirmed news of pink pineapple being illegally sold in the country is true and not fake after conducting a fact-finding investigation.
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset said the ministry is not staying still and is in fact more vigilantly monitoring illegal activity but with limited manpower the public is urged to be its eyes and ears in watching out for illegal online trade of GMO crops.
Smugglers were warned that according to Plant Quarantine Act B.E. 2507 offenders are liable to maximum one year imprisonment and/or fine of not more than 20,000 baht.
Should the authorities find that GMO crops are being grown or traded in the country they can immediately seize and destroy the whole lot with both buyers and sellers forbidden from claiming compensation from any party.
The ministry will also be putting up posters on pink pineapple plants to help the public check them.
According to New York Times Pinkglow pineapples, the pink-fleshed fruit that the food company Fresh Del Monte has been cultivating since 2005 in Costa Rica, are now more widely available from major grocers in the US but people who shun GMOs were told to avoid them.
The company’s website for the pineapples says: “This product was made possible through bioengineering.” In its statement approving the pineapple in 2016, the Food and Drug Administration said: “The new pineapple has been genetically engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in conventional pineapple that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed.” The pineapples are sold without leaves because the crowns are used to propagate the fruit.
An image of pink pineapple issued by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry’s Anti-Fake News Centre with the headline saying real news. Photo: Amarin TV
Also read: Southern pineapple to go online or go rotten