THE National Biosafety Authority has granted Choppies Superstores a permit to import products that may contain genetically modified organisms. NBA communications officer Sandra Lombe-Mulowa stated that Choppies applied for the importation of products made from GMOs or might contain GMOs in May this year.
Lombe-Mulowa stated that among the products the chain store would import and place on the market include Instant Choppies Porridge (three different flavors including Original and Strawberry), Chilli Beef Flavoured Soup, Oxtail Flavoured Soup, Chakalaka Flavoured Soup, Brown Onion Soup and Choppies Corn Flakes.
“The NBA Board, during their last meeting held Friday July 6, 2018, approved the application for a permit to import products that may contain GMOs by Choppies Superstores following a recommendation from the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC of the NBA met in June this year, and among other issues, reviewed and considered the Choppies Superstores permit application. The SAC, after conducting a risk assessment, found that the products that Choppies Superstores sought to import did not contain toxins and allergens that might cause harm to the humans, animals and the environment,” she stated.
“In April this year the NBA accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Health, Lusaka City Council and the police swung into action and pounced on the unsuspecting Lake Road and Ibex Choppies Superstores confiscating food products worth over K21,000 which were brought in the country and placed on the market without obtaining approval from the Authority. The chain store was also directed to withdraw all products containing GMOs from the shelves across the country that were being sold without prior approval from the Authority. The NBA in the presence of Choppies officials and law enforcement agencies destroyed the products which were confiscated from superstores since they were not subjected to risk assessment, prior to their importation, in order to ascertain their safety as food or feed.”
Meanwhile, Lombe-Mulowa stated that the NBA had issued 23 permits since 2015 to various companies for the importation and or placing on the market of products that may contain genetically modified organisms.
She stated that the import permits were valid for five years while permits for placing on the market range between three to six months to ensure compliance and prevent companies from contravening the law.
Lombe-Mulowa encouraged and advised wholesalers, distributors and suppliers to ensure that they give copies of permits for import or placing on the market to retailers and traders they supply genetically modified products to avoid being inconvenienced or penalised.
She stated that the NBA was the only regulatory body, which considers products that might contain GMOs to be placed on the market after risk assessment and upon granting of a permit.The authority also regulates GMO products transiting through the country.