In a move that should clarify the regulations on genetically modified foods, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released a draft regulation stating that no one can make or sell food products or food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without prior authorization.
The draft was published to solicit the views of stakeholders, after a process of inter-ministerial consultation.
The draft regulations describe the pre-approval procedure as well as the standards for safety assessment and labeling. It also specifies the standards that laboratories will have to meet to test GM foods.
“Prohibited in infant foods”
The proposed regulation will apply to “genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically modified organisms (EMBs) or living modified organisms (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing”.
The scope of the regulation will include food products, which may have been made from food ingredients or processing aids derived from GMOs, even if the GM content is not present in the final product.
The food safety authority has also said that genetically modified organisms or genetically modified organisms “must not be used as an ingredient” in infant food products.
“No one shall manufacture, store, distribute, sell or import into the country any food or food ingredient, as the case may be, derived from genetically modified organisms, except with the prior approval of the Food Authority. The provisions of this regulation are in addition to, and do not derogate from, any other rule or regulation made under the Act ”, indicates the draft regulation.
The project also proposes labeling standards for food products that contain 1% or more than 1% GMOs. “All food products containing 1% or more of genetically modified ingredients must be labeled” Contains GMOs / ingredients derived from GMOs, “says the draft regulation.
Industry watchers said the regulations, when finalized, would provide clarity on regulatory status, especially with regard to imported food products.
In an effort to ensure that only non-GM crops are imported into the country, the food safety regulator said last year that imports of 24 crops must be accompanied by a “Non-GM, GMO-free” certificate. from January 1.
However, after receiving some representations from stakeholders, it was postponed and these standards came into effect on March 1. The standards were established as the FSSAI was in the process of finalizing the regulations.