FSSAI, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has issued a clarification on its order that makes non-GM-cum-GM-Free certificates a prerequisite for the products that are being imported into the Indian market and reiterated that the compliance will start ruling after March 1, 2021.
The clarification reads, “The requirement of Non-GM-cum-GM-Free Certificate is applicable to the consignments which are dispatched from the exporting country on or after March 1, 2021.”
Further the clarification added that the tolerance limit for the ‘Adventitious Presence- AP’ of GMO at 1 per cent is permissible in imported food crop consignments.
Yesteryear, August was the month when FSSAI enlisted 24 such crops that were must be declared non-GM by Jan, 21 and was sent to the review committee at WTO in September and, subsequently, the date for implementation is now moved two months ahead on March 1, 2021.
The directive said that the framing of regulations related to genetically modified or engineered food, which is governed by the Section 22 of the FSS Act, is taking time and to ensure only non-GM food crops are imported into India, it has been decided that every consignment of imported food products listed by the FSSAI must be accompanied with a Non-GM-cum-GM-Free certificate.
According to the FSSAI, the directive was issued as per the FSS Import Regulations 2017, which is to ensure safe and wholesomeness of articles of food imported into India.
The crops include Alfalfa, Apple, Argentina Canola, Bean, Chicory, Cowpea, Egg Plant, Flax Seed, Maize, Melon, Papaya, Pineapple, Plum, Polish Canola, Potato, Rice, Safflower, Soybean, Squash, Sugar Beet, Sugarcane, Sweet Pepper, Tomato, and Wheat.
All the FBOs in the country were asked to comply with the order and they must be providing authority with a detailed certificate declaring that the product is of Non-GM origin and does not contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and also not genetically-modified along with the name and address of the exporter, manufacturer and consignee, description of the product, invoice, lot/batch number, expiry date, quantity, date of manufacturing or packing, and date of shipment and place, amongst others.
GMOs are major concern these days across the globe. GMOs are such crops which are genetically modified or altered for a particular kind of yield or against some insect and pest infections. These insect killing gene or pesticide complementary genes are feared to be interfering in the ecological system and food chain causing its malignancy at the intricate level. So, authority in India, FSSAI is being stringent in checking if they are entering into Indian food markets by any means and kicking it out of the chain.