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6-Regulation: Mechanism to regularise GM food marketing in Sri Lanka



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TITLE:  Mechanism to regularise GM food marketing
SOURCE: daily Newss, Sri Lanka, by Anjana Samarasinghe
        http://www.dailynews.lk/2005/09/05/bus03.htm
DATE:   5 Sep 2005

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Mechanism to regularise GM food marketing

THE appropriate bio safety measures and risk assessments must be in place
prior to commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) foods, said
Committee Member GM food interest Group of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
Delano Dias at a briefing on regularise for the control of import, sale
and labelling of GM foods recently.

The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will regularise the import, sale
and labelling of GM foods shortly.

The Chamber together with Food Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Health
Department organised this briefing for the business community on the
regulation of importing, selling and labelling of GM foods.

The global market has accepted GM food technology and the market for it
will grow further as new traits such as drought tolerance, salt tolerance
of crops and plants with high oil contain become commercially vailable,
Dias said.

We need to regulate bio technology, biotech food in scientific and
commercial use within Sri Lanka. Laws should be workable, clear and easy
to be implemented by all stakeholders, he said.

The major GM crops are engineered for resistance to herbicides or to
resistance to insects pests. "The rapid development of this technology is
due to its economic environmental benefits, driven in part by the
dramatically lowered requirement for chemical pesticides, he said.

Nearly eight million farmers now plant GM crops in 17 countries. Around
81 million hectares were planted around the world last year. The global
value of GM crop production in 2003 was $44 billion.

At present there is no commercial production of bio-technology crops in
Sri Lanka. Some food imports may be bio-engineered but no mechanism
exists to measure it or track distribution.

Dias also said new regulations should be more user friendly with simply
documentation and reasonable testing charges.

There should be efficient implementation ensuring no delay or trade
blockage. Consumers have asked for this kind of regulation, said Director
Environmental and Occupational Health, Ministry of Healthcare Dr. C. K
Shanmugarajah.

We have Considered consumers' rights and international trade commitments.
Under the new regulations import, transport, distribution and sale of GM
food should do with the CFA approval, he said.

Companies who wish to obtain the approval, are required to submit an
application to CFA with relevant information.

These applications will then be forwarded to the Technical Evaluation
Committee (TEC) for assessment. The CFA who will levy a fee for
processing and assessments from the applicant places TEC's recommendation
before the Food Advisory Committee and will inform the same to the applicant.

When approval is granted, the applicant will be able to provide the
product to the market with the label that depicts "Genetically Modified".
Foods which contain less than 1 per cent GM organism are exempted from
these provisions.


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