A study by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found that the Indian supermarkets are flooded with food having genetically modified components. This alarming finding comes despite India having laws that bar genetically modified (GM) foods from being produced or sold in the country without government approval. A deeply flawed and improper labeling system and corporate deception are cited as reasons for this, according to reports
“Large-scale illegal presence”
CSE researchers conducted tests on “domestically produced and imported edible oils, processed and packaged foods, and infant foods,” and found that 32 percent of the samples that were tested contained genetically modified organisms (GMOs), 80 percent of which were imported from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
“Most GM foods in the study did not disclose GM on their labels and 15 percent made false claims saying they were GM-free,” Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE said in a statement.
CSE’s researchers wrote in the summary of their research that there is a “large-scale illegal presence and sale of genetically modified (GM) processed foods in the country.”
Infant food that was sold for children with medical ailments, including allergies, were found with GM contamination. This includes two products by Abbott Laboratories, the American healthcare company, which were found to be GM-positive—one was for lactose-intolerant infants and the other was a hypoallergenic (for minimizing the possibility of an allergic reaction). It was found that neither product has any warning on the label telling parents that it contains GM components.
“We had been hearing about the presence of illegal GM food in India, and decided to do a reality check by testing processed foods. We were shocked to know the scale in which GM foods have penetrated the Indian market. The regulatory authorities are to blame here,” Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of told the publication.
“The FSSAI rules are undemocratic because the FSSAI is advised by the same corporations that have spread unhealthy food across the industrial world, and now want to impose it on India—Coke, Pepsi and Nestle. This translates into corporate food fascism,” author and food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva tells the publication.
“Indians deserve to grow, produce, distribute good food for all, instead of bad food and fake food imposed by the unscientific, undemocratic, anti-national labeling rules for the profits of the GMO and junk food industry at the cost of people’s health and our national food and health sovereignty,” she added.