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Kenya maintains ban on GMOs

12 June 2014, 08:08

Nairobi - Kenya will not lift the ban on importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) until regulatory agencies verify they have no negative impacts to the environment and human health, officials said on Wednesday

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, James Macharia said that it is only the Cabinet that has powers to lift the ban on commercialization of genetically engineered products.

"As for now, the ban on genetically modified organisms remains in force. If there is any genetically modified product in the country, it is an illegality," said Macharia.

He spoke during the presentation of taskforce report on genetically modified organisms.

Macharia appointed a twelve member taskforce in October 2013 to review scientific literature and data on the effects of GMOs to animal and human health, after the government imposed a ban on importation of genetically modified organisms in November 2012 when a scientific journal linked them to cancers.

"Now that the report is ready, we require adequate time to review it. We have confidence in the report findings and will present them to parliamentary committee on agriculture for discussion," Macharia told journalists.

The 12 member GMO taskforce comprised eminent personalities drawn from industry, academia, government and civil society.

Its terms of reference included an assessment on Kenya's readiness to adopt genetically modified organisms in the light of policy, regulatory and infrastructural safeguards.

The Chairman of the taskforce, Professor Kihumba Thairu said that the 120 page report contained scientific data on the benefits and demerits of GMOs.

 - Xinhua

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