NAMIBIA – Namib Mills has reacted swiftly to restore its company’s image and to dismiss any consumer concerns amid allegations that its leading maize brand, Top Score, contains a high percentage of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
In a statement released late last week, the company said it is not privy to the sample that was tested by the National Consumer Trust (NCT) claiming its high percentage of GMO or to the information tested and cannot confirm these percentages regarding product package labelling.
“On a long-term on-going basis, roughly 50 percent of Namibian maize is imported. The rest is locally produced, thus the increase is not a true reflection of the product. Products tested are very much subject to different factors and all these factors can influence test results,” said the company.
Namib Mills added that currently there is no Act in Namibia stipulating any disclosure of possible GMO content for maize products or on the packing material of maize products.
However, the company mentioned a stakeholder workshop last November regarding the proposed Biosafety Act, which is envisaged to be implemented around July 2015.
“We would like to state that the GMO percentage published by the NCT regarding Top Score is not a true reflection. Top Score is a well-balanced maize meal that is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s been on the Namibian market for 33 years and does not have any harmful effects on human health,” noted Namib Mills.
Meanwhile, Ashante Manetti, spokesperson for Namib Mills, has said the Namibian Grain Processors’ Association (NGPA) is in touch with the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) in preparation of the Biosafety Act.
She emphasised, however, that the legislation and standards for labelling need to be specified.
“The industry is thus awaiting the details required to be printed on packing material. Once guidance and the packaging specifications are disclosed, Namib Mills will implement it. Our obligations, as Namib Mills, are to provide the consumers with quality products at an affordable price. Namib Mills voluntarily enriches its products with vitamins.