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12 November 2018 Photo Johan Roux
December graduations to conclude the UFS academic year
UFS December graduations: three days and six ceremonies of paying tribute to hard work, persistence, and perseverance.

The University of the Free State (UFS) is looking forward to conferring undergraduate, postgraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in all faculties during the upcoming end-of-year graduation ceremonies taking place in December 2018.

The UFS Bloemfontein Campus will host inspiring celebrations for graduates and their families in the Callie Human Centre on the dates specified below.
 
For more information about the upcoming ceremonies, visit the graduation home page, where graduating students can also access the graduation frequently-asked questions (FAQs).  Additional enquiries can be directed to graduations@ufs.ac.za
 
Graduation ceremonies for the different faculties will take place on the following dates:

4 December 2018

09:00 - Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Education

14:30 - South Campus: Open Distance Learning 

5 December 2018

09:00 - Faculties of the Humanities and Theology and Religion

14:30 - Faculties of Law and Natural and Agricultural Sciences

6 December 2018

09:00 - Faculty of Health Sciences (including School of Nursing)

14:30 - Master's and Doctorate degrees (all faculties)

News Archive

UFS professor addresses genetically modified food in South Africa in inaugural lecture
2016-09-23

Description: Chris Viljoen inaugural lecture Tags: Chris Viljoen inaugural lecture

At the inaugural lecture were, from the left front,
Prof Lis Lange, Vice Rector: Academic;
Prof Chris Viljoen; Prof Gert van Zyl,
Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences; back: Prof Marius Coetzee,
Head of Department of Haematology and Cell Biology;
and Dr Lynette van der Merwe, Undergraduate
Programme Director.
Photo: Stephen Collett

The first genetically modified (GM) crops in South Africa were planted in 1998. Eighteen years later, the country is one of the largest producers of GM food in the world. Those in support of genetically modified crops say this process is the only way to feed a rapidly growing world population. But those who criticise GM food describe it as a threat to the environment and safety of the population. Who is right? According to Prof Chris Viljoen of the Department of Haematology and Cell Biology at the University of the Free State, neither position is well-founded.

GM crops play a vital role in food security

While GM crops have an important role to play in increasing food production, the technology is only part of the solution to providing sufficient food for a growing world population. The major genetically modified crops produced in the world include soybean, cotton, maize and canola. However, the authenticity of food labelling and the long-term safety of GM food are issues that consumers are concerned about.

Safety and labelling of GM food important in South Africa
In his inaugural lecture on the subject “Are you really going to eat that?” Prof Viljoen addressed the importance of the safety and labelling of GM food in the country. “In order for food to be sustainable, production needs to be economically and environmentally sustainable. On the other hand, food integrity, including food quality, authenticity and safety need to be ensured,” Prof Viljoen said. 

Labelling of food products for genetic modification was mandatory in South Africa, he went on to say. “It allows consumers the right of choice whether to eat genetically modified foods or not.” The Consumer Protection Act of 2008 requires food ingredients containing more than 5% of GM content to be labelled. 

GMO Testing Facility world leader in food diagnostic testing
In 1999, Prof Viljoen spearheaded research in developing a GM diagnostic testing platform, and in 2003, a commercial diagnostic platform for GM status certification, called the GMO Testing Facility, was founded. The facility is a licensed Eurofins GeneScan laboratory   a world leader in food diagnostic testing   and provides diagnostic detection and quantification of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in grain and processed foods for the local and international market.

Molecular diagnostic technology the future of food integrity, authenticity and safety
With GM labelling now well-established in South Africa, the next challenge is to establish the use of molecular diagnostic technology to ensure that food integrity, including food authenticity and safety is maintained, said Prof Viljoen.

“To the question ‘Are you really going to eat that?’ the answer is ‘yes’, but let’s continue doing research to make sure that what we eat is safe and authentic.”

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