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Aromat is an outlawed GMO product

03 July 2014, 09:26 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The popularly advertized and consumed spice, Knorr Aromat risks recall from market after the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Cooperative and Livestock committee established that the product is made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) outlawed in 2012.

The revelation that Aromat is a GMO product was after the Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia’s assured the committee that no GMO product was in the market following the 2012 ban by the government upon global precaution that it is harmful to users’ health.

“Following the government’s 2012 GMO ban, the products are not allowed for importation and consumption in the country. We still rely on the Cabinet’s collective agreement in three weeks on whether to allow or ban the GMO consumption,” Macharia told the Agriculture committee chaired by Mandera North MP, Adan Nooru.

However, Nooru said that the committee will oppose the Executive’s approval of GMO consumption after the Task Force assigned to research on the products’ safety for human consumption fails to provide a substantive report.

“From the Task Force’s research on GMO and Food Safety for Human Consumption report, this committee resolves that importation and consumption of the products is still banned,” said Nooru.

The Task Force assigned the research obligation by the Health Ministry to establish factual findings towards the banning of GMOs in the country indicated that “the ban was a precautionary measure because of reported harm that had been found by certain groups.”

The Task Force also established that more research on GMO usage is needed since there is no substantive information behind their harmfulness, and that the country should not necessarily depend on them for livelihood.

The revelation that Aromat is the recent GMO in the market sparked mixed reactions between the committee members and the summoned Health ministry top brass officials.  

The committee blamed the Health ministry of negligence on food surveillance leading to availability of the outlawed harmful GMOs in the market.

“Those responsible for food surveillance in the market should perform their duties without negligence to safeguard citizens from consuming harmful products,” Nuuro cautioned the Health officials.

However, the Health official’s suggestion that food manufacturer’s openly disclose the ingredients of their products was strongly opposed by the committee where it held that the laws be enforced as per the government’s directive.

Makueni MP, Daniel Maanzo who brought Aromat in the committee’s debate as an exhibit of availability of banned GMOs in the market said the product contains “harmful genetically modified slow-killer elements”.

“The Aromat broadcast advert doesn’t disclose that the product is genetically modified yet on its ingredients, the product contains genetically modified material that endangers the health of consumers,” said Maanzo.

The committee vowed to ensure that all GMO products are completely eliminated from the market, and those found importing them in the country brought to book until their safety for consumption is proved both locally and internationally.  

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