Query: What is the position of government and/or the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on GMO products [genetically modified organisms] in Namibia?
Being a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity, Namibia is compelled to put in place systems for regulating the safe handling, transportation, placing on the market, and release of GMOs into the environment.
The Biodiversity Act of 2006 introduces systems and procedures for the regulation of GMOs in Namibia. The Biodiversity Council, established under Section 5 of the Biodiversity Act, is tasked to regulate: the import and export of a GMO or GMO product, the release into the environment of a GMO or GMO product, the contained use, as well as the placing on the market of a GMO or GMO product, the transportation of such product, including transport in transit through Namibia and lastly the use, or handling in any other way of a GMO or GMO product.
Query: Is the government or Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry aware of the GMO content in food?
Namibia is a net importer of many of its food products, including maize grain and it is widely known that approximately 50% of our maize grain comes from South Africa. Taking cognisance of the fact that approximately 86% of South Africa’s maize production is genetically modified, it is likely that maize products on Namibian shelves contain genetically modified ingredients.
Query: What is the content/percentage of GMO maize meal?
To date, the competent authority has not conducted any laboratory tests that would verify the GMO content/ percentage in maize meal. However, we are currently conducting a baseline study to ascertain GMO content in planted maize. Results of this study will be made publicly available.
Query: Are GMO products safe for consumption?
Response: GMO products are subject to rigorous regulations, which require them to be tested at all levels of development. Both environmental risk assessments and food safety assessments are carried out by product developers and then verified by regulatory bodies of different countries for approval in the country where products are to be marketed. Many countries base their food-safety testing criteria on internationally accepted guidelines, such as the Codex Alimentarius, which set out some principles and guidelines when evaluating food derived from modern biotechnology.
Query: Dear Namibians, do you know that GMO in our food causes cancer and could kill a loved one? Only the devil will tell you that he does not exist. Stay sharp! Do GMOs cause cancer or any kind of sickness and when/after how much consumption?
There are no scientific studies that have demonstrated that GMOs cause cancer.
Iyaloo Kandjabanga, office assistant corporate communication and marketing