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Nobody can Manufacture Food Products Derived from GMOs: FSSAI

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Administering Solution into Plant (Conducting Research in Lab for GM Crop)

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released draft regulations stating that no one can manufacture or sell any food products or food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without prior approval in a move that is expected to bring regulatory clarity on genetically modified foods.

Following an inter-ministerial consultation process, the draft was released for stakeholder feedback. The proposed regulations detail the procedure for prior approval, as well as safety assessment and labeling standards. It also specifies the standards to which labs must adhere when testing GM foods.

Banned in Infant Food’

The proposed regulations will cover “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs), or Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing.”

The scope of the regulations will include food products that may have been made with a food ingredient or processing aid derived from GMOs, even if GM content is not present in the final product.

Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms “shall not be used as an ingredient” in infant food products, according to the food safety authority

“Except with the prior approval of the Food Authority, no person shall manufacture, store, distribute, sell, or import in the country any food or food ingredient derived from Genetically Modified Organisms. The provisions of this regulation are in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other rules or regulations made under the Act,” according to the draft regulations.

Labeling Standards

The draft also proposes labeling standards for food products containing 1% or more GMO content. According to the draught, “all food products containing individual Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredient one percent or more shall be labeled-Contains GMO/Ingredients derived from GMO.”

According to industry observers, once finalized, the regulations will provide clarity on regulatory status, particularly for imported food products.

In order to ensure that only non-GM crops are imported into the country, the food safety regulatory agency announced last year that imports of 24 crops would require a “Non-GM, GM-Free” certificate beginning January 1.

However, after hearing from stakeholders, it was postponed, and these norms went into effect on March 1. Since the FSSAI was in the process of finalizing the regulations, the standards were established.

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