Chief Food and Drugs Inspector of the Ministry of Health S. Nagiah told the official Sunday Observer that the ministry was more concerned about the safety of the people than making it a testing ground for the new technology.
Sri Lanka Sticks to Ban on GM Food
XINHUA; May 13, 2001
The Sri Lankan government has decided to stick to its ban on Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) to avert any health hazard despite strong criticism by the United States, a government official said. Chief Food and Drugs Inspector of the Ministry of Health S. Nagiah told the official Sunday Observer that the ministry was more concerned about the safety of the people than making it a testing ground for the new technology. Many foreign scientists have criticized the bio-technology and its health risks. The Food and Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health after a research study on the subject for a period of one year had imposed the ban on the importation of genetically modified foods, materials, organisms and food additives under the new regulations, he said. He said that his country has no ways of detecting GMF and depends on the certificate issued by a well-recognized laboratory of the exporting country. The certificate should indicate that the food or any ingredient are not produced by genetically modified materials, he added. Weyland Beeghly, an Agricultural Counselor from the US embassy in New Delhi, India said here recently that Sri Lanka's view on the GMF is totally false and offensive. The bulk of wheat Sri Lanka imported from the US, which accounted for nearly 500,000 tons annually, was not genetically modified. He said that Sri Lankan authorities had to give scientific justifications to the World Trade Organization to prove the ban. Sri Lanka is reportedly the first country to introduce the ban on GMF, which was effective from May 1 this year.