Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gullivers, Lilliputians and GM Food

by Hemantha Withanage

Appered in Biotechnology and Development Monitor NO48, December 2001,

In April 2001, the Sri Lanka Health Department, on the advice of its Food Advisory Committee, gazetted restrictions on the importation of genetically modified (GM) foods. Twenty-one products including a wide range of soy products (flour, textured vegetarian proteins, TVPs); corn products (flour, cereals); fresh tomatoes and processed tomato products; cheese, bakers yeast, beet sugar and microbiological cultures were mentioned.

The Sri Lankan Government annpounced that imports of food would have to be accompanied a certificate issued by an accredited laboratory confirming they did not contain GM ingredients. The Controller of Imports directed banks to warn their clients of these restrictions and to include them in letters of credit. These measures provoked immediate reaction from US government representatives and the WTO which resulted in the Sri Lankan government withdrawing the legislation.


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