Malaysia: Fruits from Camerons rejected

martin carvalho, hemananthani sivanandam, loshana k. shagar, and rahmah ghazali The Star 26 Oct 17;

CAMERON Highlands was identified as an area where living modified organism (LMO) was detected in fruits meant for export.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the incident came to light after the authorities were alerted by their counterparts in China.

“There was a case where fruits from Cameron Highlands were exported to China. Checks were conducted and the fruits were rejected as they were found to be LMO products,” he said to a question from Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong).

Common LMOs include agricultural crops that have been genetically modified for greater productivity or for resistance to pests or diseases.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the National Biosafety Board took note of the incident and ordered the fruit trees not to be planted anymore.

He said the board also kept close tabs on the entry of LMO products into the country.

“There are 47 institutions that have their own committees on LMO and report back to the board to ensure they adhere to guidelines,” he added.

He said the board would give approval if the LMO products imported have low risk to health and environment.

He said that LMO products imported into the country include seeds, animal feed and rice.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the Genetically Modified Advisory Body under the board was responsible for assessing LMO risks.

Living modified organisms to be scrutinised before entry into Malaysian market

KUALA LUMPUR: Imported living modified organism (LMO) products must be approved by the National Biosafety Board (NBB) before they are allowed in Malaysian markets.

Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told the Dewan Rakyat that the products must go through a biosafety analysis to ensure that the risks from the biotechnology application would be at an acceptable level.

"NBB will only approve low-risk LMO (products) which are verified safe in terms of its impacts on human and animal health as well as the ecocsystem and biodiversity.

"A guideline on processing the application of LMO products has been in place under the Biosafety Act 2007 whereby only approved products will be allowed in the country's environment," he said during an oral question session today.

LMOs are defined as any living organism that has a combination of genetic material obtained through modern biotechnology. Modern biotechnology enables gene-transferrals between different organisms.

Wan Junaidi said the Genetically Modified Advisory Committee (GMAC) which consistst of NBB-appointed experts from multiple fields would carry out the risk-evaluation process.

"The evaluation process will take into account seven factors including toxicity, allergens, the possibility of antiobiotic resistaant gene transfer in digestive tract, nutrition content, pathogenic potential and gene donor organism," he said on LMO's possible risks to humans.