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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Thailand to host international biotech conference

BANGKOK, July 3 (AFP) - Thailand will next week host an internationalconference to debate the safety of genetically engineered food and crops,which is to be opened by Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.Sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) and the British government, the conference will bring togetheraround 200 government officials, industry representatives and activistsfrom July 10-12.Entitled "New Biotechnology Food and Crops: Science, Safety and Society",the forum aims to assess the safety of genetically modified food and cropsand how decisions can be made about them.The conclusions of the meeting will be presented at the summit of G-8industrialised nations in Genoa on July 20 to 22.Organisations co-sponsoring the meeting, including the World HealthOrganisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the United NationsEnvironment Program, will also launch discussions on the results.Two dozen experts on national and international biotechnology andgenetically modified foods and crops are scheduled to speak.The conference is the second OECD event on the subject of geneticallymodified food and crops after a meeting in Edinburgh in March last year.In the area of agriculture, researchers have touted the use of geneticallymodified crops as a way to boost crop production and improve nutritionalcontent.But protestors at recent meetings of biotechnology company executives areinsisting that any advances using biotech methods must be weighed againstthe potential risks to the environment and of human misuse.



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