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Kenya bans GMOs

Thursday 22 November 2012

The Kenyan government has banned imports of genetically modified organisms over health fears. On Wednesday, Health Minister Beth Mugo announced a ban on foods containing GM ingredients, effective immediately, pending tests on the health effects of the foods.


Ms Mugo said health officials would ensure GM foods are removed from sale while tests are ongoing. She said, “My ministry wishes to clarify the decision was based on genuine concerns that adequate research had not been done on GMOs and scientific evidence provided to prove the safety of these foods.”


The health minister added, “Where there is apprehension and uncertainty regarding the safety of food products, precaution to protect the health of the people must be undertaken.”


A French study released in September linked consumption of GM maize to development of cancer in rats. However, since the study’s release, its reliability has been the subject of much debate. Although many scientists have criticised the study, released by researchers at the University of Caen, the Soil Association’s head of policy Peter Melchett said the team used the same methods regulators require in their licensing processes.


Having stated in October that the study is currently inadmissible as clear evidence of health risks associated with GM crops, EU watchdog EFSA said it will release a full appraisal of the study before the end of the year.


Research organisations in the EU have called for more transparent testing of GM crops, in order to establish once and for all whether adverse environmental and health effects can arise from using the crops.


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