New professional body to fight GM food, CKD


By Don Asoka Wijewardena

A collective of SriLankan professionals such as university teachers, doctors, engineers and lawyers would form a professional organisation next week to stem the tide of genetically modified food and promote traditional food crops in Sri Lanka, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana announced yesterday

Dr. Jayasumana pointed out that several diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney diseases and various forms of cancers were now afflicting even children. A major health crisis was looming, he warned.

The principal aim of the professional outfit to be set up would be to change the modern eating habits of the people and promote eating of traditional food including Sri Lankan rice varieties, he said.

A survey conducted by his research team in urban areas had revealed that a majority of people living there had at junk food, Dr. Jayasumana said. Fatty acids in such food items were responsible for many diseases, he said.

The kidney research scientist said the new professional organisation had devised plans to conduct awareness programmes on healthy eating habits while discouraging genetically-modified food items.

The organisation would be promoting traditional food such as kurakkan, sesame, yams, traditional rice varieties such as kaluheenati, puchperumal and suwedel, Dr. Jayasumana said.

Dr. Jayasumana stressed that traditional rice varieties contained antioxidants which were capable of neutralising the harmful free-radicals in the human body. The promotion of traditional vegetables and herbs would also be undertaken, he added.

Gruel made from traditional herbs was a healthy, but many people, including children preferred fizzy drinks, he said. The high percentage of sugar in such drinks was a main cause of the high incidence of diabetes among the young and adults alike, he said.

Kidney Disease Research Scientist Dr. Chinthaka Wijewardena said that the time had come to introduce organic farming in Sri Lanka in view of the looming health crisis.

The professional organisation to be established would bring to the notice of the government the importance of organic farming and the need for changing the current food habits of the people, he said.

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