(GIS) – The Department of Sustainable Development recently hosted a two-day training workshop on the development of Food and Feed Safety Assessments for GMOs currently in trade in Saint Lucia.
The activity is one of many being held to strengthen Saint Lucia’s capacity to regulate GMOs and safeguard human health and the environment from any adverse impacts resulting from GMO use.
Jannel Gabriel, Environmental Officer within the Department of Sustainable Development, said biosafety is one of the department’s main concerns.
“Saint Lucia is a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. We signed that protocol in 2005, and since then we have been developing a framework for biosafety in Saint Lucia. The framework will regulate the processes through which genetically modified organisms enter the country, or regulate those that are produced in the country or that are being exported out of the country. So the entire framework seeks to ensure that if a GMO is being used, that it is being done in a way that it is safe to human health and to the environment.”
Ms Gabriel explained that the workshop worked towards examining GMOs already on the global market.
“We have already developed a policy on biosafety. We developed legislation which will soon be enacted, but before that legislation comes in, while we are waiting on everything to be concluded, we are being proactive by looking at some of the GMO’s that may already be in trade. We are looking at genetically modified corn and genetically modified soy which have already been traded around the world for the past twenty years. It is quite probable that those are in Saint Lucia, so we will look at the safety of those foods compared to foods that are not genetically modified. We are looking specifically at the toxicity of those foods and their ability to cause an allergic reaction and also the nutritional content of these foods. Then we will be preparing a food safety assessment document that the public can read, understand and give comments on.”
The biosafety policy can be viewed at lc.bioclearinghouse.net, and on the Government of Saint Lucia’s web portal, www.govt.lc.
The workshop on the development of Food and Feed Safety Assessments for GMOs took place from March 5 to 6.