Genetically modified foods are widely considered unsafe for human consumption. They are suspected of causing or multiplying the risk of an array of illnesses including cancers. GMs are produced from seed that has been doctored in laboratories, supposedly making them resistant to disease.
Statistics obtained by this paper from
In February, GAPS imported 50
Louis Dreyfus took in a further 7
For June and July, Toepfer imported a total 13
It is unlikely in the melee of emergency food aid necessitated by
It also remains unclear how the imports passed through border control without detection. Government has publicly stated its policy against the use of genetically modified organisms (GMs) for food, seed, animal feed or processing.
Repeated efforts to obtain comment from Agriculture Minister
Dr Made has on numerous occasions in the past made clear Government's anti-GMs stance.
Fears are that the maize imports may not have been assessed for risk, leading to contamination with organic grain. Millions of people could have consumed the contaminated grain unknowingly.
The Cartagena Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
Domestic biosafety laws are vague on the exemption (or not) of GM imports during food emergency situations.
Countries under the
"Risk assessment is the evaluation of the likelihood of the occurrence of an undesirable event. It is science based, carried out on a case-by-case basis, comparative and iterative."
However, it is common knowledge that there is no baseline data on the safety of GMs to the environment and human health in most African countries of the east and south, hence no foundation for the assessment of food and feed safety.
The sustained importation of GMs has raised questions on Government's capacity to monitor and control effectively the sphere of unregulated genetically modified grain trade.
This has opened the food industry to possible manipulation, increasing the risk of GM imports, as a last gap measure to avert hunger. At least 2,2 million people were estimated to be in need of food aid last year.
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