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Genetically modified grain crops

Import and export of genetically modified grain crops

The majority of maize and soya beans grown in South Africa is genetically modified, making it the only country in the world where the national staple is a GMO.

The GM crops grown in South Africa – maize, soybeans and cotton – either have resistance to insect pests or tolerance to broad range chemical herbicides, or both. Legislation requires that food products containing GM products are labelled.

The Directorate: Genetic Resources of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is involved in two types of approval that affect grain export from and import into South Africa.

Type of approval: General release – conditional

Type of approval: Commodity Clearance

Services Offered the Directorate: Genetic Resources

The Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997 (Act No.15 of 1997) was implemented in 1999 and aims to ensure that all activities involving genetically modified organisms are carried out in such a way as to limit the possible harmful consequences to human and animal health and the environment. The Act makes provision for a Registrar and two regulatory bodies, namely an Advisory Committee and the Executive Council, as well as inspectors.

The objectives of the Act are as follows:

Approval of GMOs may also be subject to approval in terms of other legislative requirements

Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997
Regulations of GMO Act, 1997
Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Act (Act 15 of 1997)

GMO events currently approved in South Africa