Thailand has halted its plans to start open field trials of genetically modified food after widespread criticism from environmental groups.

Last week the government was accused of giving in to pressure from the US when it announced a cancellation of Thailand's 2001 ban on trials of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Now however, the government has said the planned GM trials would be delayed while further studies are carried out, reported Agence France Presse.

"The Prime Minister said there should be a study about GMO because if the government rushes to make a decision, it may lead people to think the government supports GMOs," government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair told AFP. "We will do the study on paper, not by testing." 

Last week environmental group Greenpeace accused the Thai government of making a "rushed" and "reckless" decision.

"The decision made by a small group of bio-technology advocates will benefit only a small group of companies, and ignore the rights of farmers and consumers of the nation. It is apparent that the decision was based on false claims and assumptions, which will lead this country into disaster," said Jiragorn Gajaseni, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.