Namibian maize test positive for GMO
The Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT) revealed yesterday in a press statement that a second test found traces of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Maize meal on Namibian store shelves.
The second tests conducted during October this year at the GMO testing laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry confirmed the first finding of GMO in October last year.
In the statement the NCT says that none of the brands warned consumers before hand of the GMO contained in the maize. Namibian brands such as Top Score by Namib Mills and White Star by Bokomo are also said to contain GMO as well, the statement read.
“The private sector seemingly has very little regard for consumers as it continues to provide GMO containing food to consumers without their consent.”
Agricultural Bank of Namibia predicted cereal output for this year at 96,000 tonnes; the bank projected that 43,000 tonnes of maize would be produced locally this year while 88,000 was produced the previous year.
Namib Mills had earlier on promised to get their next harvest of maize “clean” and plan to conduct their own tests on all maize products.
Managing Director for Namib Mills ,Ian Collard in response said that it is not illegal to import GMO maize although locally producing such is not allowed. “The Biosafety Act has been promulgated but currently no structure exists to implement it.”
Collard further added that they are awaiting a course of action from the Ministry of Education under which the Directorate of Research, Science and Technology falls under while the Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently working on the food safety Bill and policy for improved food safety regulations.
The non profit consumer rights civil society organisation earlier this year found traces of Kangaroo meat in chilli bites and also found cross contamination in other meat samples.
DNA screening of samples of processed meat from various shops in Windhoek had revealed that some meat retailers may be involved in the substitution of processed meat, either deliberately or otherwise in the hope of maximising profits
Under the Cartagena Protocol that manages GMOs, GMO food exporting countries are expected to inform the GMO receiving country. The NCT is however unsure if this legal principle is being adhered to,calling on the Biosafety Council for GMO to be be finalised by the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST).