Archived news articles - 2004

GMAC Press Release – 21 April 2004

GMAC introduces its newly-appointed members and launches revamped website to kick off its public awareness programme for 2004.

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC), now in its 3rd term, introduces its newly-appointed members and kicks off its public awareness programme for 2004 with the launch of a revamped and improved website. GMAC chairman, Dr Ngiam Tong Tau, officially launches the website today. The website can be viewed at http://www.gmac.gov.sg. GMAC also announces plans to produce an educational brochure for the public, to be ready for distribution later this year.

GMAC MEMBERS
12 representatives from various national agencies and research institutions were recently appointed to the committee, chaired by Dr Ngiam Tong Tau, Chief Executive Officer of the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. Members serve for 2 years from 1 Feb 2004 to 31 Jan 2006.

The list of GMAC members can be viewed here.

The committee meets regularly to discuss developments in the various fields of genetic modification and devise guidelines as well as advise on specific issues when necessary.

ENHANCED GMAC WEBSITE
The initiative to create and maintain a GMAC website was mooted by GMAC’s Subcommittee for Public Awareness as a platform for public education on biotechnology, GMOs and GM foods. First launched on 7 June 2000, it remains the only official website in Singapore to focus on GMOs and GM-related issues.

The Subcommittee, chaired by Professor Lee Sing Kong, felt a revamp of the old website was necessary following the results of a public survey commissioned by GMAC in 2001 to study Singaporean’s perception, attitudes and believability of information sources regarding GM foods.

According to the results of the survey, many would turn to GMAC as a reliable source of information for GM-related issues. The results also showed that while about 50% understood the term “genetic modification”, only about 20% actually understood the terminology and basic concepts of genetic modification.

Coupled with continuous public enquiries and feedback that GMAC received, the website was revamped to include information, references, GMAC-outlined biosafety guidelines, and even an interactive quiz that visitors can take to test themselves on their knowledge of basic concepts of genetic technology and GMOs. The website was also given a facelift to make it user-friendlier.

The GMAC website is designed to be a reliable source of information on GMOs and GM-related issues. The new, enhanced website is packed with information and resources to allow the public and corporations to not only better understand GM-related issues but also to better understand the role of GMAC in Singapore. It also hopes to dispel erroneous misconceptions of the subject matter.

Features of the new website include:
  • Lists of all members - GMAC and its subcommittees
  • GMAC’s recommendations and guidelines on the release of GMOs in Singapore
  • Frequently-Asked-Questions
  • Recommended Readings and newspaper articles on GMOs and GM-related issues
  • References to websites of many local, regional and international agencies and institutions
  • An Interactive Quiz

Professor Lee has this to say about the website. “The website is a fast and easy way to understand GMOs and GM foods. It is a window into reliable sources of information both in Singapore and around the world.”

EDUCATIONAL BROCHURE
As part of its ongoing public awareness program, GMAC, led by the Subcommittee for Public Awareness, will embark on producing an educational brochure, targeted at the general public, to feature frequently-asked-questions on GMOs, GM-related issues and GMAC. This brochure is targeted to be ready for distribution later this year.

ABOUT GMAC
The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC), a non-profit, multi-agency advisory committee was set up in April 1999 to oversee and advise on the research and development, production, use, handling and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), ensuring that these are done in compliance with international standards. GMAC will continue to develop and approve biosafety guidelines regarding GMOs, as well as facilitate the harmonisation of guidelines with international authorities. GMAC has, since, expanded its role to take on creation and enhancement of public awareness on GMOs and GM-related issues.

Issued by GMAC

For more information, please contact :

GMAC Secretariat
info@gmac.sg