|Wednesday, 26 February 2003|
by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi
Regulations have been finalised by the Health Ministry to monitor and control the import of Genetically Modified food. This will be gazetted shortly.
"We have received the greenlight to go ahead with the draft and finalise it as a legal document," a Senior Ministry official told the Daily News yesterday. The legislation will cover all GM foods.
The draft document is to be presented to a Technical Committee comprising various institutions and organisations within the field, before gazetting, the official said.
This Committee will comprise representatives from the trade chambers, consumer societies, environmental groups, experts in gene technology, officials from the Legal Draughtsman's Department and the Health Department.
"The Committee is expected to go through the regulations and propose suggestions and changes where necessary to make those regulations more effective." the official said.
The recommendations of the Committee will be presented to the Food Advisory Authority which has the powers to gazette those regulations.
The new regulations require the importers of genetically modified foods to obtain approval before importing any of such food items to Sri Lanka.
"The approval will be granted by a panel of experts in the field, considering the local and international situation regarding GM foods at a given time."
Under the draft regulations, it will be compulsory for the importers to have a label on such GM foods imported or produced here.
The official said that the regulations regarding GM foods were to be made effective from September 2001. The procedure was delayed due to certain international requirements. Later, the Health Ministry appointed a committee comprising experts in the field to monitor, make risk analysis and regulate Genetically Modified or Engineered foods.
The committee has reviewed strategies and regulatory processes with regard to production and importation of GM foods from time to time based on the emerging information or guidelines provided by international bodies, official said.
They have gone into factors such as preparation of a risk-based assessment, risk management and strategies, the completion of data and dissemination of information on GM foods.
Produced by Lake House