The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has ordered that all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GMO products must be assessed before being placed on the Zambian market.
NBA Chief Executive Officer Lackson Tonga said it is critical that all GMOs and GMO products are assessed to determine their safety before they are imported into the country.
In a press statement issued to the media by NBA Communications Officer Sandra Lombe, Mr Tonga said the risk assessment will be undertaken before the GMOs and GMO products are imported and put on the market or released into the environment.
He named food, feed and pharmaceuticals as products highly inclined to contain GMOs.
Speaking ahead of the World Food Safety Day (WFSD) which falls on June 7, Mr Tonga said subjecting GMOs and GMO products to risk assessment helps in identifying, analyzing and evaluating the potential risks that may negatively impact humans, animals and the environment.
“Safe food is important now and also for the future. That is why risk assessment on food products is inevitable. Risk assessment helps in identifying any harms a product can cause to the health of humans animals or if such a product is detrimental to the environment. As the Authority mandated to handle matters related to GMOs, it is our duty to ensure safety of humans, animals and the environment,” said Mr. Tonga.
He warned that the Authority will not hesitate to penalize any organization or individual breaking the provisions of the Biosafety Act.
Mr Tonga advised consumers to be suspicious of any GMOs and GMO product that has not been approved by the NBA.
“Therefore, it is imperative that researchers, farmers, distributors, suppliers and retailers/traders obtain or seek approvals for GMOs and products that may contain GMOs to ensure safety”, said Mr Tonga.
He pointed out that the 2021 World Food Safety Day (WFSD) theme of ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’, aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
Mr Tonga stressed that production and consumption of safe food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy.