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CONSUMERS & REGULATION: Zambia Consumer Association calls for GE food labeling





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TITLE:   CONSUMERS NEED PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATED FOOD - ZACA

SOURCE:  The Post, Zambia

AUTHOR:  Edwin Mbulo

URL:     http://www.postzambia.com/post-read_article.php?articleId=21985

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "WE need robust, well resourced institutions which should be able to protect consumers against contaminated food, says a consumer advocate. Commenting on the just-ended world food standard body, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting which resolved that governments are free to decide on whether and how to label foods derived from modern biotechnology, including foods containing genetically-modified organisms, Zambia Consumer Association executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga said food issues need high standards."

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CONSUMERS NEED PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATED FOOD - ZACA

WE need robust, well resourced institutions which should be able to protect consumers against contaminated food, says a consumer advocate.

Commenting on the just-ended world food standard body, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting which resolved that governments are free to decide on whether and how to label foods derived from modern biotechnology, including foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga said food issues need high standards.

?It?s one thing to develop standards and another to adhere to them. We need well-resourced institutions such as the Zambia Bureau of Standards. They need to be well equipped in human resource and finance to be able to function. We need robust institutions which should be able to protect consumers against contaminated food,? Ililonga said.

He said standards institutions in Zambia and other African countries faced a big problem when it came to resources despite being backed by good legislation.

Ililonga said ZACA has advocated mandatory labelling of food packages to show whether a product was genetically modified so as to give a choice to consumers.

?We support the position taken by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to safeguard consumers from bio-technology whose outcome may harm the health of the consumer,? he said.

Ililonga said there was a lot of concern on GMOs and certain additives which need to be addressed by the Zambian government.

According a press statement made available by Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, the World Health Organisation communications officer, a decision which will help inform consumers make choices regarding genetically-modified foodstuffs was taken at the 34th session of the Codex Commission held in Geneva from July 4 to July 9, with 184 member countries, the UN, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in attendance.

?The meeting of world food standard body, Codex Alimentarius Commission World food standard body, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission has stated that governments are free to decide on whether and how to label foods derived from modern biotechnology, including foods containing genetically-modified organisms,? stated Bhatiasevi. ?The labelling should be done in conformity with the text approved by the Codex Commission, to avoid potential trade barrier.?