Port-Louis- Mauritius (PANA) -- The Institute for Consumer Protection (ICP) in Mauritius Thursday launched a sensitisation campaign on risks related to the consumption of food products based on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
According to ICP spokesman Mosadeq Sahebdin, the move was part of a global movement against rapid introduction of GMOs with regard to their effects on consumer health, and for the protection of the environment.
Sahebdin said the provisions of the Genetically Modified Organisms Bill currently being discussed by the Mauritian National Assembly were "insufficient".
"It is deplorable that the precautionary principle is not applied to GMOs.
Our position, which is aligned to that of Consumers International, is based on the need to abandon trade practices if there is no certainty that they are harmless to consumer health," Sahebdin explained.
He noted that, "no research has so far proven that GMOs were risk free for consumers".
"Nor is it proven that the introduction of GMOs will increase production.
" Sahebdin insisted on the need for adequate legal framework to enable traceability of food products and ingredients, adding: "We insist on the need to respect the consumers' right to information and choice.
" He also called for a national debate to sensitise consumers and farmers on GMOs.
In addition to public discussions in social and community centres, the ICP was planning campaigns among parliamentarians to generate support for consumers' actions, he disclosed.
"We call on all the forces of the nation to set up a common front to defend the interest of consumers," he stressed.
Eric Mangar, director of the Food Self-Sufficiency Movement, said consumers should be given clear information on GMO imports to Mauritius, "as is the case in European countries where it is binding on producers to mention GMOs in food labels.