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Zambia accepts more imports of GMO products

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A farm employee pulls out cornstalks on an 18-hectare operation owned by a retired educator near Livingstone.  hotos: Shannon VanRaes

On Monday, Zambia’s department of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) declared it had allowed some companies to import GMO containing products despite the resistance from some of the stakeholders.

Chairperson of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) Paul Zambezi confirmed that 4 companies had been permitted to import GMO containing products. This decision was made based on the risk assessment by a scientific advisory committee, which had proclaimed the products safe for human consumption, Zambezi said.

“As the NBA, we would like to reiterate that food safety is very important, and we cannot allow any food or feed which is not safe for human consumption or for use as animal feed to be on the market.”

The department, he said, was currently reviewing other applications, adding that 45 permits had been granted since 2016 to allow GMO products on the market.

The Zambian government has banned GMOs in 2002, with deceased President Levy Mwanawasa describing them as “poison.” Mwanawasa even rejected GMO maize donated by the US government during a food shortage caused by drought.

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