Nigerian Food And Drug Agency DG speaks on Genetically Modified Foods

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The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye in a recent interview on Arise News Television said that though NAFDAC had not conducted extensive research on the safety of GMO products, the agency did not have evidence to show that GMO products like maize and tomatoes were safe for human consumption.

Genetically modified foods are foods produced from organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering as opposed to traditional cross breeding.

The NAFDAC boss who said that GMOs can be used for non-food crops including to make sure that timber grows better for furniture, rubber plantation and so on. She stressed that for human consumption, there is no evidence from NAFDAC that it is safe.

Adeyeye said this while speaking on the controversy that it has been difficult for laymen to lay hands on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) crops and seedlings like maize, tomatoes, and the speculation that GMOs want to destroy farming culture in Africa.

She said, “Actually, NAFDAC has not done research to this effect. We have biodiversity, I think it is a bioethics or biodiversity agency. We also have a biotechnology agency. We also have the seedling group that are in charge of seeds. The Ministry of Agric is more into this than NAFDAC, but NAFDAC also is on the lookout.

“We have not registered a single GMO product, because we are sensitive about it. We leave the agency that is supposed to take care of it to give us advice on good or bad. But right now, we have not done anything.

“In terms of GMOs, we do not think it is safe. We don’t think it is safe for our own consumption. That is the position of NAFDAC.

“First, because a lot of research has not been done in terms of the safety of GMO products. The genetics of the seeds have been modified. Until we get very convincing data to show the safety for human consumption.

“It is not safe for us in terms of NAFDAC perspective. GMO can be used for non-food crops. It can be used to make sure that timber grows better, for furniture, for rubber plantation, things like. But for human consumption, we don’t have evidence that it is safe and that is where we are.”

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