Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sri Lanka- Law to label GM foods gazetted

17 August 2006, Colombo. As requested by the Centre for Environmental Justice in its Writ application No.1380/06, Hemantha Withanage Vs Consumer Affairs Authority and others filed on 4th May 2005, the Government of Sri Lanka finally gazetted GM food labeling legislation (Gazette Ex. Ordinary. 1456/22 , 3rd August 2006) early this month making it mandatory for importers and local manufacturers of GM foods to label their products in the future.
The law which will come into effect from January 1, 2007 requires all GM food items to carry a prominent sticker informing that the product contains GM materials, giving the consumer the freedom of choice. Defaulters of this law will have to face a six-month jail term or a Rs. 10,000 fine or both under the Food Act, No. 26 of 1980.
All GM food importers will be required to apply for a permit from the Food Advisory Committee chaired by the Health Services Director General to import GM products in future. The permit will be given after verifying that the products are safe for human consumption and with the condition that it will be prominently labelled.
According to Dilena Pathragoda of Center for Environmental Justice, there are more than 100 GM food items available in the Sri Lankan markets. Once the law is implemented people will have the information to decide whether they would consume GM food or not.
Gazette Ex. Ordinary. 1456/22 , 3rd August 2006 on GM regulations can be found in http://www.documents.gov.lk/Extgzt/2006/Pdf/Aug/1456-22/1456-22e.pdf
The petition can be found in http://www.ejustice.lk/PDF/PDF-GM%20petition.pdf
More Information
Dilena Pathragoda, Director, Centre for Environmental Justice dilena@ejustice.lk
Nilmal Wikramasinghe, Legal Officer info@ejustice.lk
20A, Kuruppu Road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka Website www.ejustice.lk