The farmers’ organization Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has raised objections to the FSSAI’s draft regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and modified foods and demanded their withdrawal, arguing that they were a new attempt by the body to introduce ‘unsafe and undesirable’ GM foods into India.
“Weak regulations allow GMOs to enter by stealth. Basing decisions in India on approvals given elsewhere is a complete travesty of the regulator’s responsibility to evolve regulations according to our own needs and demands,” BKU pointed out in a submission to the FSSAI this week.
The FSSAI published the draft regulations in November 2021, proposing that food products or food ingredients derived from GMOs can be sold in the country after obtaining prior approval. It defined the pre-approval procedure as well as the safety assessment and labeling standards. He specified the standards that laboratories will have to meet to test GM foods.
The FSSAI had sought feedback from stakeholders on the draft proposals. India, at present, does not allow genetically modified foods in the country.
Some of India’s trading partners, especially the United States, have raised concerns over the FSSAI order mandating non-GM origin and GMO-free certification for the import of 24 crops identified food crops, including apples, pineapples and wheat, and argued that this hindered joint efforts to increase market access for agricultural products.
The matter was discussed during the India-US Trade Policy Forum in New Delhi in November 2021 and it was decided that the matter would be discussed further.
Rejecting FSSAI’s plan, BKU said the FSSAI was trying to allow GMOs despite farmers’ unions, other citizen groups as well as state governments guaranteeing that no GM food crops are allowed to be allowed. grown in India, and also not allowing risky field trials.
She also criticized the project for not containing provisions for an independent and long-term impact study of GMOs.
“No market surveillance mechanism has been proposed, nor is it clear who will make the decisions and with what interests to keep in mind,” the note adds.
January 29, 2022