INSTEAD of only amending the anti-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) ordinance, the Provincial Board of Negros Occidental is eyeing the passage of a separate local law concentrating on food production.

Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao, chairman of committee on laws, rules and ordinances, pushed for the withdrawal of the proposed amendments, citing that the existing ordinance covers only regulation of living GMOs, whether plants or animals.

The ordinance passed in 2007 has provisions to expand its applications, including food production, or those with non-living GMOs.

Gatuslao, however, said revisions particularly the expansion of coverage might “destroy” the whole ordinance thus, it is better to have a separate anti-GMO regulation for food production.

“The existing one will become a stand-alone anti-GMO ordinance covering plants and animals,” he said, adding that they will also create separate implementing rules and regulations for the two complementing ordinances.

Under the new ordinance, the province will create an anti-GMO “watchlist items” used in food production like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), among beverages and soft drinks.

The province, through the ordinance, will ask food and beverage companies that distribute items related to HFCS to submit certifications that the corn syrup they are using does not contain any GMO.

It may then be used by complainants in filing charges against companies found to have GMOs in their products, Gatuslao said.

The existing Anti-GMO Ordinance, meanwhile, would still need some amendments.

Aside from setting up the task force and monitoring team, the ordinance also has other components that include the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and Provincial Veterinary Office, which were not utilized, Gatuslao said.

“We will work for the improvement of the existing ordinance, which has been a dormant law for long years, alongside the creation of a separate one,” he added.