Regulations which would order the labelling of genetically modified foodstuffs imported into Sri Lanka are being drafted by the country's Food Advisory Committee, under the supervision of its health ministry.

The island's Medical Research Institute is to be strengthened as a testing centre where samples of imported food items can be analysed, Sri Lanka's Daily News has reported. The move follows an aborted attempt made last year to introduce a ban on GM food within the country, which was abandoned following pressure from business interests inside and outside Sri Lanka.

Local scientists have warned Sri Lankans to avoid GM food until research confirms its safety.

By Swineetha Dias Wickramanayaka, correspondent in Colombo