The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has petitioned the African Union to consider a ban on the cultivation, import and export of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa at its January 2013 summit.
The request comes at the same time the Kenyan government has banned genetically modified food imports, citing insufficient evidence assuring public safety. Public health officers have already received orders to enforce the ban at all points of entry.
In a statement reportedly signed by over 400 African organizations, the ACB criticized GM foods for lack of safety information, as well as for patents and privatization that it says threaten small farmers.
ACB director Mariam Mayet spoke on a study recently published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology
that showed a connection between GM maize, and organ damage and premature death in rats.
“The results of this study have been discredited by scientific bodies with industry ties, but even they acknowledge that long-term safety studies do not exist and are necessary. Maize is a staple food for millions of Africans, making it imperative to ensure that it is safe in the long term,” Mayet said in a media statement.