The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has seized various food products and feed containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) from Food Lovers and Spar which were being sold without permits from the Authority.

In a statement, Wednesday, NBA Communications officer Sandra Lombe stated that some of the confiscated products were imported into the country illegally.

“The Authority pounced on the unsuspecting chain supermarkets at East Park and Arcades Shopping malls on Tuesday afternoon for selling products containing genetically modified organisms which have not been assessed for their safety as food and feed, thereby contravening provisions of the Biosafety Act No 10 of 2007,” Lombe stated adding that the two chain supermarkets were found wanting and as such the Authority had to seize the various food products which would be destroyed in accordance with the law.

She said the biodiversity act stated that “A person shall not research on, develop, produce, import, export, transit, carry out any contained use, release or place on the market any genetically modified organism or any product of a genetically modified organism or deal in any manner with any genetically modified organism or a product of a genetically modified organism without the prior approval of the Authority.”

Lombe said among the food items confiscated were biscuits, chips and corn flakes.

“Among the food products confiscated, include biscuits, chips, soups, spices, soya pieces, cornflakes and assorted crackers, whilst feed included dog and cat food. The two supermarkets were previously engaged and sensitized by the NBA on the need to get permits if they are to trade in products of GMOs,” she stated.

Lombe stated that in Spar, apart from their branded products containing GMOs, confiscated items included samples of products from suppliers who had permits but Spar did not have copies of the permits to place on the market.

“Spar was, however, asked to produce copies of permits by Wednesday 20th February, 2019 failure to which the goods which were removed from the shelves will also be seized and destroyed.” She stated.

Meanwhile NBA warned traders to have permits regarding the sale of GMO products country wide.

“The NBA would like to further warn all traders that they risk facing the law if they do not have copies of permits, even from their distributors, to sell products of GMO. The Authority in October last year gave traders, wholesalers, chain stores and supermarkets a one week ultimatum to get permits to sell products of GMOs from their distributors and suppliers,” stated Lombe.

NBA was established under the Biosafety Act No. 10 of 2007. Through the Act the NBA regulates the research, development, application, importation, export, transit, contained use, release or placing on the market of any GMO whether intended for use as a pharmaceutical, food, feed or processing, or a product of a GMO also to ensure that any activity involving the use or a product of GMO prevents any socio-economic impact or harm to human, animal health and the environment in the country.