GMO importers defended

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LINDA SOKO TEMBO writes

@SunZambian

THE National Biosafety Authority (NBA) says it cannot revoke the permits it recently granted to four companies to bring in products which may contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) because they were issued according to the requirements of the Biosafety Act.

This follows calls from some section of the society that NBA should reverse the permits it recently granted to Gatbro, Pick n Pay, Southern National Import and Export Limited and Choppies Superstores to import GMO products.

In a statement, NBA chief executive officer, Lackson Tonga said revoking of permits could only be done if a company or an individual abrogated some provisions of the Act.

“The Authority ensures that any product of GMO or a product that may contain GMOs undergoes a risk assessment to ensure safety of humans, animals and the environment,

“As such we have no reason to reverse or revoke the recently granted permits as suggested by some sections of society as the companies are compliant and have not been found wanting,” he said.

Mr Tonga said those who were calling for the ban of the importation of GMO products should also be aware that this would have an effect on other products made using genetic modification such as medications required by individuals with diabetes, certain vaccines and primers used in the medical fraternity.

He said all decisions made by the Authority were posted on the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH), which was the United Nations portal.

Mr Tonga said the public was free to check what Zambia and other countries in the world had approved and that those who wanted to investigate the Authority on the decisions made were welcome.  

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