Archived news articles - 2010

25 June 10 The Straits Times

GM food labelling is about choice, not food safety

WE REFER to Ms Bhavani Prakash's letter ('Better labelling of GM foods essential'; June 16). The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has in place a comprehensive and integrated food safety system to ensure that food available in Singapore, including genetically modified (GM) food, is safe for consumption.

In assessing and approving GM food imported for sale here, the AVA uses international and national guidelines established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) respectively. These guidelines require GM food to pass rigorous pre-market food safety assessments before they can be sold in the market.

The GM foods approved for sale in Singapore have passed stringent assessments, and have been approved in many developed countries.

In addition, organisations such as the World Health Organisation, European Food Safety Authority and the Royal Society in Britain have carried out extensive reviews and concluded that currently available GM food is not inherently less safe than its conventional counterpart.

Nonetheless, the AVA and the GMAC will remain vigilant and keep abreast of scientific developments.
GM food labelling, where practised, is done with the intention of providing consumers with choice, and not for food safety reasons.

At present, international consensus on labelling has not been reached, given that it is a complex issue with implications on food imports, food prices and trade.

Codex member countries are working towards developing an internationally accepted position on labelling. The AVA and GMAC will monitor developments closely to ensure that labelling requirements are up to date and aligned with international standards.

Goh Shih Yong
Deputy Director, Media Division
For Chief Executive Officer
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA)

Theodosia Tan (Ms)
Secretariat
For Chairman
Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC)

Issued by GMAC

For more information, please contact :

GMAC Secretariat
info@gmac.sg