January 21, 2022

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Food safety activists oppose FSSAI draft regulation on GM foods, say it aims to allow easier entry of transgenic foods

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Food safety activists oppose FSSAI draft regulation on GM foods, say it aims to allow easier entry of transgenic foods
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Food safety activists oppose FSSAI draft regulation on GM foods, say it aims to allow easier entry of transgenic foods
Food safety activists oppose FSSAI draft regulation on GM foods, say it aims to allow easier entry of transgenic foods

NEW DELHI: Citizen groups including food safety activists from across the country and the RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Thursday voiced their concerns over the central regulator FSSAI‘s draft regulation on genetically modified (GM) foods, saying the move would pave the way for “easier entry” of transgenic foods into the country without protecting the interests and health concerns of consumers.
Most of them demanded extension of the deadline for public feedback on the draft beyond its deadline of January 15, citing the current surge in Covid-19 cases that prevented meetings for wider debates on the subject. They also want the FSSAI to make the draft text available in vernacular languages so that more and more citizens can be involved in extending their suggestions.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had in November last year released the draft regulation that proposes all food products having individual genetically engineered ingredients of 1% or more to be labeled as “Contains GMO/ingredients derived from GMO” which the Coalition for a GM-Free India and others including SJM found quite weak in their scope to effectively regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Pointing out several loopholes in the proposed regulation, the Coalition said that there was no provision for a long term, comprehensive and independent testing regime. Besides, it does not have provisions of independent data analysis and public scrutiny.
“The proposed regulations as notified in November 2021 are about FSSAI compromising on citizen interests, and facilitating the food industry’s business as usual. In fact, these regulations have been put out for public feedback after industry’s inputs have already been obtained. We do not accept these draft regulations,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India.
“The draft regulations have no mention of how the ‘Authority’ will take its decisions. There is no clarity on the long term testing regime. The threshold forlabeling is a give-away of the compromises that FSSAI is already making,” said Rajesh Krishnan, a farmer and co-convenor of the Coalition.
Meanwhile, the SJM’s national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan launched an online petition, appealing citizens to oppose such regulation which, he claimed, aimed to allow GM food in the food plate of Indians. “If this FSSAI regulation comes into effect, we will face the situation where a plethora of GM foods will become part of our consumption, leaving us with no choice of avoiding it as most large food importers will be able to import their foods with GM ingredients into India,” said Mahajan in his petition.

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