Consultancy held for bio-safety legislation

Consultancy held for bio-safety legislation

GIS:-The Legislation Aims to Protect Human Health and the Environment from the Products of Modern Biotechnology.

The Department of Sustainable Development recently held a public consultation on biosafety legislation.

Jenelle Gabriel, Environmental Officer within the Department of Sustainable Development states that the legislation aims to reduce negative impacts to the.environment from the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and living modified organisms (LMOs) in Saint Lucia.

“Saint Lucia developed this biosafety framework starting as far back as 2004. At the time we realized that we were importing a lot of our food, and the places we were importing from had food that had been genetically modified, meaning the DNA of the food had been changed in a way that will allow the plant, crop or animal to exhibit new traits—better traits in some cases. So initially, we designed a framework that would allow us to regulate these products, and we went through risk assessments, legislation, a public education and feedback mechanism, and an administrative system. The framework is all about biosafety, protecting human health and the environment from the products of modern biotechnology like GMOs to make sure they are safe for human health and safe to the environment.”

Ms Gabriel added that the legislation will help in regulating and establishing guidelines in the use of GMO’s.

“Saint Lucia’s policy toward biosafety and GMOs is that in the times we live we will have encounters with GMOs, and so we want to ensure that these orgamisms will be used in the safest way. So the policy is to regulate them through a licensing system and give the public an opportunituy for feedback.”

The public will be given further opportunity to review the Biosafety Bill and Regulations before it is enacted. Copies of the documents can be viewed online at lc.biosafetyclearinghouse.net.

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