GMOs: Biosafety agency directs stakeholders to formalise activities
Amid controversies surrounding plans by the federal government to introduce Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has said that it would ensure that potential impacts of GMOs on human, animal health and the environment are carefully weighed and the risk assessment fully carried out before they are released.
To this end, the agency has warned individuals and companies involved in GMOs activities to formalize their dealings with the agency to avoid sanction.
Director General of the agency, Rufus Ebegba who stated this Tuesday in Abuja, said the agency is poised to ensure safety of human health, animal health and the ecosystem in the use of modern biotechnology adding that before any GM crop is turned into food, the agency should have been sufficiently satisfied of its safety for human and animal consumption.
He said: “The controversy surrounding the food and feeds are quite germane, however, till date, there is no reliable evidence that GM crops pose any health risk whatsoever. Recent findings by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Who Health Organisation (WHO) and other credible authorities attest to this. NBMA will not compromise on its mandate of ensuring holistic Biosafety in the country.
“No individual or group can protect Nigerians more than the government”.
Ebegba observed that the agency is presently carrying out a confined field trials of some GM products to assess the potential for transgenic to affect the non-target organisms before approving their commercial release.”
He explained that apart from field trials, there is no GMOs officially ready for consumption in the country adding that the one for cotton will not be ready until the next two years.
According to him, the review conducted by the National Biosafety Committee made up of notable scientists and stakeholders on Biosafety applications for maize and cotton indicated that there was no evidence of harm or allergic reactions.
Ebegba noted that the Act establishing the agency has sufficiently set up guidelines and regulations to govern the practices of the modern biotechnology in such a manner that will ensure that potential risks are eliminated.