A combined team of Luanshya Municipal Council Health Inspectors and Court officials yesterday swung into action and destroyed more than 700 Bokomo Cornflakes containing traces of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).
The Corn Flakes were burnt after Luanshya Magistrate Edward Banda issued an Order of Disposal following an application by the local authority and destroyed 165 by 750 grams and 697 by 500 grams cases of Bokomo Corn Flakes.
Luanshya Municipal Council Public Relations Manager Gideon Thole said in a press statement that the corn flakes were destroyed because a South African based food processing and manufacturing company Bokomo is in contravention of the Biosafety Act.
He said the company was not making an application to the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) for authority to import the corn flakes containing GMOs in accordance to section 10 of the Biosafety Act.
Thole said “ Luanshya health inspectors confiscated the corn flakes from a local leading chain-store after the Ministry of Local Government and the Attorney-General issued separate circulars urging Councils throughout the country to exercise their powers of seizure, disposal and destroy without compensation on any products containing Genetically Modified Organisms which are imported into the country, exported or placed on the Zambian market without adhering to the provisions and requirements of the Biosafety Act Chapter 10 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia” .
He explained that the National Biosafety Authority is the government institution specifically mandated to handle matters relating to Genetically Modified Organisms in Zambia.
Mr. Thole however said it is important for members of the public to note that although the seized cornflakes contain the authorized GMO threshold of 0.9 percent in conformity with the Biosafety Regulations of Genetically Modified Organism for food, feed and processing they are being illegally sold on the local market.
He pointed out that the fact that the law was not followed by Bokomo when importing the cornflakes into Zambia makes this fact inconsequential.
Mr Thole has since appealed to residents and other stakeholders to be on alert and ensure that stringent measures are put in place to deal with matters of biosafety.
He further appealed to consumers in Luanshya to take time to examine expiry dates, ingredients and also ensure that traces of genetically modified organisms in the food products was within the authorised threshold of 0.9 percent in conformity with the Biosafety Act.
Mr Thole additionally advised consumers to report any trader selling products which are labelled in foreign languages which could not be read by Zambians or trading expired goods among others to health inspectors or the Public Health Officers at Luanshya Civic Centre.
The corn flakes were set ablaze at the Council dumpsite in the presence of health inspectors and representatives of the Luanshya Magistrate Court.