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Consumer campaign against GMO

Staff Writer

ZIMBABWE will on March 15 join the rest of the world in celebrating the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) in efforts to draw the public’s attention to the fundamental rights of consumers.

This year’s theme for World Consumer Rights Day is the threat to consumers posed by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Consumer groups around the world will campaign under the slogan “Consumers say NO to GMOs”.

The theme will focus on three consumer rights — safety, information and choice.

Consumer’s International (CI) is campaigning to have all GM foods subjected to rigorous, independent safety testing and properly and clearly labelled.

CI wants all consumers to be able to choose to buy non-genetically modified foods, if that is what they want.

In 2002 and last year the government led by President Robert Mugabe barred all GMO’s maize handouts into the country arguing that they first had to be tested.

In April last year environmental health officers who were attending a workshop on improving the safety of informally vended foods in southern Africa prepared a report which noted that foodstuffs that were being sold at Warren Park terminus were contaminated by various pathogens.

The report said that food hygiene at the market place was poor, evidenced by samples of chicken stew that had been sent for lab testing.

“The cooking area is only two metres away from the skip bins which are usually overflowing with refuse,” the report said.

“There are public toilets near the cooking area which may sometimes be blocked and dirty. There is a problem due to the position of skip bins and toilets in relation to the cooking area.”

Last year the European Commission lifted a six-year moratorium on genetically-modified food.

The commissioners backed a bid by Swiss-based Syngenta to sell Bt-11 sweet corn for human consumption.

The decision fell to the commission after governments of the EU member countries failed to reach an agreement on whether to lift the ban which had been challenged by the United States.

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