Kenya: MPs uphold ban on genetically modified products amid protests

A ban on genetically modified products should not be lifted until the country develops necessary laws to ensure safety.

The National Assembly Committee of Agriculture yesterday reinforced the ban that has been in place since 2012 despite protests by advocates of the products otherwise known as GMOs.

"There is no evidence of adequate tests to determine the safety of genetically modified products, which are still finding their way into the country due to weak border control mechanisms," said the team, chaired by Mandera North MP Mohammed Nooru, in its report.

"The committee notes no GM product has so far been tested for safety by biosafety authority. The present Biosafety Act passed by Parliament in 2009 has no specific provisions for testing for safety," the report says.

"The ban should not be lifted because GM products must pass a preliminary independently verified study which covers the acute and sub-acute phase of testing for human consumption."

The report is a bitter pill to swallow for those pushing for introduction of GMOs in Kenya, arguing that Kenya is food insecure. They have cited widespread malnutrition in many counties.

The team said any future decision to allow GMO imports must be accompanied by compensation structures for people who may be exposed to possible negative effects.