Sunday, June 23, 2024

Biosafety Authority Management and Board Accused of Criminal Negligence Over GMO Products

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Emmanuel Mwamba has called for the resignation of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) management and board and for them to face criminal charges for allowing the importation and feeding of Zambians on GMO products without consent or following the laid down procedure provided for by the Biosafety Act of 2007. Mwamba stated that the Act prohibits the importation of GMO products that relate to crops and livestock of national importance, which maize is.

“The Biosafety Authority Management and Board need to immediately resign. Further, criminal negligence charges must be considered for them to allow the importation and feeding Zambians on GMO products without following the laid down procedure as provided for by the Biosafety Act of 2007,” said Mwamba.

He further explained that Section 11(1) of the Biosafety Act No. 10 of 2007 states that “The Authority shall not grant any approval for the importation, development, production, release into the environment or placing on the market of any genetically modified organism or product of a genetically modified organism relating to any crop or livestock OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE AND FOOD SECURITY!” He also pointed out that Section 14 obligates the Biosafety Authority to conduct public consultation and public participation.

Mwamba’s comments come in response to a statement released by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), which stated that the mealie-meal from South Africa produced from genetically modified maize is safe for consumption. The NBA has been working with other government institutions to ensure that mealie-meal that may contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be imported and transited through the country is from the maize varieties that have been authorized by the NBA.

The NBA’s Scientific Advisory Committee Chairperson, Dr. Sody Munsaka, has assured the nation that risk assessments have been conducted on the maize events and soya varieties from South Africa and have been found to be safe for human and animal consumption. Munsaka revealed that the authority had previously granted permits for products made from GMO maize or which may contain GMOs to various distributors and traders in the country.

Mwamba, however, believes that the Biosafety Authority Management and Board failed to follow the laid down procedures provided for by the Biosafety Act of 2007, which require public consultation before GMO products are imported into the country or in transit. He believes that the management and board should be held responsible for allowing GMO products into the country without following the laid down procedure.

“The management and board of the National Biosafety Authority must be held accountable for allowing GMO products into the country without the knowledge and consent of the Zambian people,” said Mwamba.

Mwamba urged the government to take action against the Biosafety Authority Management and Board and to ensure that GMO products are not allowed into the country without following the laid down procedure. He also called on the Zambian people to demand transparency and accountability from the government and its institutions.

“We urge the government to take action against the Biosafety Authority Management and Board and to ensure that GMO products are not allowed into the country without following the laid down procedure as provided for by the Biosafety Act of 2007. We call on the Zambian people to demand transparency and accountability from the government and its institutions,” said Mwamba.

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