Labeling of genetic foods may increase food prices, experts and politicians have warned. A forum constituting of scientists, industry players and MPs at the weekend warned that branding of GMOs may hinders efforts to address food insecurity in Kenya. A gazette notice on May 25, announced that all GMO products have to laballed.
The group said the requirement should be reviewed if genetic foods are to serve as alternatives to dwindling food stocks in the country. Millers in the forum said they will incur additional costs to meet the labeling requirements, charges they will have to pass to the already overburdened consumers.
Cereal Millers Association chairman Diamond Lalji said labelling the GMO products in a country where debate on the technology has been quite "politicised at the expense of scientific facts", will hurt trade. "We shall not sell the GM products because by labelling, we are raising questions about the safety of the products. So as, scientists, you have to decide whether GM products are safe or not. If they are not, let's not talk about them altogether," Lalji said.
Speaking at the forum in Kisumu, Joel Ochieng' of the University of Nairobi said research carried out by the institution shows that labelling would have been essential if majority of Kenyans rejected GM products. "However, this is not the case from the 3,529 respondents we studied. Many policies are not informed by research and that is why we can end up with regulations that make life of a low income earner more complicated," Ochieng' said.