Hyderabad: Food safety officials of Telangana haven’t lifted any samples till date to test Genetically Engineered food products sold in the market.
In-charge chief public analyst of TS and AP Food Laboratory N. Ravindra, said, “We haven’t tested any samples so far regarding GE foods.” Deputy controller of Food Safety — Telangana, Mr G. Vinod Dayal said. “Licenses pertaining to imports are given in Chennai. We do not have authority and we are not aware of the rule position on GE foods.”
Union minister of commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, had recently stated, “FSSAI has informed that no genetically modified food has been cleared for import through the FSSAI locations. Import of food products is regulated under FSSAI Act 2006. Indian Customs can clear food products including Genetically Modified food products only after necessary approvals or no objection certificates by FSSAI."
She had said that the DFFT notified import policy for GM food, feed and GM Organism and Living Modified Organism stated that prior approval of GEAC constituted by the Ministry of Environment was mandatory.
The policy states: “At the time of import, all consignments containing products which have been subjected to Genetic Modification will carry a declaration stating that the product is GM. In case a consignment does not carry such a declaration and is later found to contain GM material, the importer is liable to penal action. GEAC has accorded one-time approval for import of GM soya bean oil derived from Round Up, ready soy bean for the purpose of consumption after refining.” However experts said that FSSAI has to finally give clearance and it has so far not cleared any GE food product.
Interestingly, none of the products has GM labelling as US laws require only QR codes or bar codes. Scientist Dr S.J. Rehman said, “Labelling is mandatory only for Genetically Engineered products. If there is no label, it is deemed to be non-GMO food. So it is the contending party that has to prove it is GMO food.”
According to FSSAI’s Delhi legal office, Section 22 of the Food Safety Act governs GM foods use. Section 22 states: “… Save as otherwise provided under this Act and regulations made thereunder, no person shall manufacture, distribute, sell or import any novel food, genetically modified articles of food, irradiated food, organic foods, foods for special dietary uses, functional foods, neutraceuticals, health supplements, proprietary foods and such other articles of food which the Central Government may notify in this behalf.”
In 2007, a notification was issuing allowing GM products, however, the Ministry of Environment has continuously been keeping the notification in abeyance since February 2008....