The Court has dismissed a case challenging the release and planting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) maize in Kenya.
In its ruling, the Environment Court has cited a lack of evidence showing that using GMOs causes harm to human health or the environment.
The use of GMOs has stirred debate in the past on whether it’s safe for consumption. This is after President William Ruto’s administration had lifted the ban on GMO imports into the country.
President William Ruto speaking at the launch of the Amazon Web Services Development Centre in Nairobi on October 4, 2023.
Following the decision, Ruto assured Kenyans that the genetically modified products did not pose any health effects, saying that he would not endanger Kenyans’ lives.
“All the food we import is GMO, to some percentage. The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) requires the percentage to be one. But that leaves us paying 30 to 40 per cent more for our imports,” he said in March 2023.
“South Africa and the USA are 100 per cent GMO. Have you heard of anyone growing horns because of consuming GMO? I am a scientist, I would not endanger the lives of those who elected me.”
The head of state also said that GMOs can be engineered to be resistant to pests and diseases, hence reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides.
This was, however, countered by Civil Society groups who filed a petition in court seeking to reverse Ruto’s orders.
The groups noted that the government had not provided sufficient evidence to show that the modified crops were safe for consumption.
The High Court ruled in favour of the civil society groups, banning the importation and distribution of the product.
In the judgment delivered by a three-judge bench, they noted that the government had not provided enough proof of the product’s safety.
An image of a legal scale and a gavel.