Biosafety authority destroys GMO products

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LINDA SOKO TEMBO Writes

@SunZambian

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has destroyed various foodstuffs and animal feed worth thousands of Kwacha found to contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

The destroyed products were seized from Food Lovers Stores, Game Stores and Spar in Lusaka last month.

In a statement to the Sun, NBA Communication Officer, Sandra Lombe, said the seized products had not been subjected to any assessment for risk.

Ms Lombe said it was important that all GMOs products underwent an assessment on their safety for consumption in order to be allowed to be imported into the country and be sold on the market.

She said the seized products, which included biscuits, chips, soups, dog and cat food, were destroyed in the presence of Zambia Police officers and store representatives.

“The Authority pounced on the unsuspecting chain supermarkets in Lusaka at East Park, Arcades and Manda Hill Shopping Malls in February for selling products containing GMOs which have not been assessed for their safety as food or feed, thereby contravening provisions of the Biosafety Act No 10 of 2007,” she stated.

Ms Lombe said, “The Biosafety Act clearly states 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 organisms without the prior approval of the Authority’.”

She said the Authority will continue to conduct surveillance, spot and compliance checks and seized GMO containing food products not cleared with it.

She expressed happiness that some chain stores had started complying with the requirement.

“The NBA has been inspecting laboratories and research facilities with activities involving gene technology in Lusaka Province and these have been found to be complying in terms of biosafety standards with a few non-conformances,” she said.

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