Education CS Dr Fred Matiang’i launches GMO label

The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology Dr Fred Matiang’i has officially launched a GM trademark to be used on all approved GMOs in Kenya. The trademark is registered by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute. This will be attached to all approved GM products to ensure that consumers are aware that the food or feed is a GMO so that they make informed choices and also to facilitate traceability of the products in the market.

This is a step towards full implementation of the Biosafety labeling Regulations of 2012 that operationalizes the Biosafety Act No. 2, 2009. A bar-coding system will be implemented alongside this label so that it eases GMO identification. The barcode will contain the details of the product, company manufacturing and industry information.

Both the trademark and barcode can only be used by third party upon approval by NBA. A hand-held scanner will be used by Biosafety inspectors to read the codes of products in the market and confirmed if approved by the Authority. This will ensure that all GMOs in the market are approved and safe for human and animal consumption as well as providing adequate protection to the environment. The Authority will also maintain an electronic database of approved GMOs and their derived products so that companies stick the label upon paying a stipulated fee.

In his speech during the occasion, the CS promised to support the Authority to fully implement the Biosafety Act No. 2 of 2009 by increasing financial and in kind support. He reiterated the need for the Authority to have requisite technical and administrative staff to spearhead the operations and enhance biosafety services in the country. These include having a functional laboratory and reinforcing GMO surveillance countrywide.

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