According to reports by the Asian Age genetically modified (GM) food is going unchecked in India. “There are certain GM food which we are told is coming in as a mixed form in some of the imports that is happening,” an official of the department of health research told the parliamentary panel, chaired by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury, which recently submitted a report on “Genetically modified crops and its impact on environment.”
Labelling Of GM Food
Reports further explains that the official has also pointed out there is an absence of mandated labelling system by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that specifies which foods are GM. The department-related parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment has now strongly pushed the FSSAI to label the import GM goods with immediate effect. The labelling will be compulsory for all food having more than 5% of GM ingredients.
The official of the department of health research said, “Once the labelling comes into force, some of the imported items – where we are still not very clear what the elements of GM food are – is something they are still working on.” The official further suggested that there is no set system yet or any plans in the future as to who and how will set standards for the GM food consumption.
The Committee’s Decision
“In terms of food, it would be very difficult to design a study where you tell one group of people that you have to take only this GM food and, then, tell another group to not take that GM food. Then, you have to follow them for many years. So, this type of study has not been done anywhere in the world. It has not been done in India also,” said the official to the committee.
The committee has decided to put a stop to GM crops by saying, “The committee strongly believes that unless the biosafety and socio-economic desirability, taking into consideration long run effects, is evaluated by a participatory, independent and transparent process and a retrieval and accountability regime is put in place, no GM crop should be introduced in the country.”