FSSAI – Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has come out with draft regulations for genetically modified food, proposing mandatory prior approval from the regulator to manufacture, sell and import food or ingredients produced from genetically-modified organisms.
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The proposed Food Safety and Standards (Genetically Modified Foods) Regulations, 2022 will apply to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) intended for food use, as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The regulations, once implemented, will also be applicable to food ingredients produced from GMOs that contain modified DNA as well as for food ingredients produced from GMOs that do not contain modified DNA but include ingredients/additives/processing aids derived from GMOs.
GMO means any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
“No person shall manufacture, pack, store, sell, market or otherwise distribute or import any food or food ingredient produced from GMOs, except with the prior approval of the food authority,” the draft regulations said.
All food products (GMOs intended for food use and food ingredients produced from GMOs that contain modified DNA) must be labelled with the words ‘contains genetically modified organisms’. This is subject to the condition that if the product contains one per cent or more of the GM ingredient considered individually.
This label must appear on the front of pack of pre-packaged products. This labelling requirement also applies to adventitious or technically unavoidable presence of GM ingredients, FSSAI said.
The labelling requirement will not be applicable to GM-food products in which the modified DNA is not detectable.
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The draft, dated November 18, has been floated for public consultations and the suggestions can be submitted to the regulator within 60 days.