25 bags of mealie meal containing GMOs destroyed, as biosafety agency warns transit permit holders


The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has warned transit permit holders not to offload on the Zambian market any of the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Authority Communications Officer, Sandra Lombe, said this included products transiting as they risk their authorisation being cancelled and the law taking its course.

Lombe in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday, said the Authority was also aware of the GMO mealie meal which was alleged to have been stolen from the Zambia National Service (ZNS) warehouse on no man’s land bordering Zambia and DRC.

She indicated that NBA officers were on the ground to ascertain whether the GMO mealie meal could have found itself back into the Zambian side.

“The product in transit exited Zambia for DRC and the theft is reported to have occurred at the no man’s land,” Lombe said.

She further said the Authority seized and destroyed 25 bags by 25 kilograms of mealie meal that may contain GMOs in Kazungula District of Southern Province.

Lombe revealed that the bags of mealie meal were intercepted by the inspectors and other enforcement agencies.

“Last Friday, a joint team of law enforcement agencies seized 12 bags of Papa Super maize meal which was found in the district believed to have been offloaded from a truck and placed on the market illegally,” she stated.

Lombe said this followed a tip-off alert from members of the public who were suspicious of the product and that further investigations led to the Authority seizing another 13 bags of the mealie meal which may contain GMOs.

She said the products were seized as they were placed on the market without prior authorisation from the authority.

Lombe stated that the traders had no permit to either import or place on the market the mealie meal.

“The Biosafety Act prohibits anyone to bring into the country a product of a GMO or GMOs without prior authorisation from the NBA,” she explained.

Lombe said the products were also seized as risk assessment had not been conducted on them to ascertain their safety.

Read More: National Biosafety Authority denies reports of confiscating mealie meals laced with GMOs

She disclosed that two traders were arrested by the Zambia Police and taken to court where it was determined that the products be destroyed.

“An unknown trucker is believed to have offloaded the mealie meal in Kazungula. Investigations have been instituted into the matter,” Lombe stated.

She commended the residents of Kazungula for being alert and called on the public and traders to desist from dealing in products which may contain GMOs without seeking prior authorization from the NBA.

“We have been engaging the public on our regulatory role and what to look out for.
We are happy with positive response from general public on being alert and able to come forth with such vital information,” Lombe said.

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