Govt permits 3 firms to import GMOs

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has granted three distributors permits to import products that may contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The three companies are Cold Chain, Horizon and Innscor who were among 12 retailers, wholesalers and distributors that applied for new and renewal permits.

At a media briefing, Thursday, NBA chief executive officer Lackson Tonga said the decision was arrived at after a risk assessment was conducted by the scientific advisory committee.

He said the committee recommended to the board for permits and assured citizens that the various products were safe for humans, animals and the environment.

He explained that of the permits granted, a named distributor would import about 80 percent of the products that they initially applied for, while the other 20 percent had been rejected.

Tonga said this was because they may contain genetically modified soyabean product, which is believed to have been made through newly developed technologies which are not covered by the Biosafety Act.

He said the authority had continued its spot and compliance checks and during the operations one distributor and four retailers have been asked to remove all the Genetically modified products from the shelves.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Zambia National Farmers’ Union president Jervis Zimba condemned ongoing manoeuvres by some quasi-government institutions to re-introduce GMOs into the country.

Zimba revealed that the Union was aware of the manoeuvres being propagated by some quasi-government institutions, but warned against re-introducing the GMOs as it will have devastating consequences on the local market.

“ZNFU is aware of manoeuvres by certain quasi-government authorities that are trying to propagate the importation of Genetically Engineered Foods into the country. These authorities are trying to scheme ways of legitimising Genetically Modified Foods in the country at the expense of what we have safeguarded for years,” stated Zimba.

         

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