Shielding from risk

Published: Tuesday 15 June 2004

Brazil's parliament is debating a wide-ranging bioethics bill, covering subjects from human cloning to genetically modified (gm) crops. The new legislation proposes the creation of a National Council of Biosafety. It will be directly linked to the President's office, and remain responsible for formulating and implementing the country's national biosafety policy.

The council will comprise 15 ministers. The proposed legislation also suggests the setting up of a fund for supporting biosafety and biotechnology development. This would be primarily utilised to develop products such as rice, beans and cooking oil, used by smallholder and poor farmers.

The legislation, if implemented, will require all institutions engaged in genetics-related research to establish their own biosafety committees. They will also have to inform workers and society members of the health and safety hazards associated with such research.

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