Indian Food Authority FSSAI has released the new draft for regulations governing Genetically Modified (GM) food products, replacing the previous draft.
According to a report published on fnbnews – the Indian Food Authority FSSAI’s draft called the Food Safety and Standards (Genetically Modified Foods) Regulations, 2022, modified the definitions that were provided in the previous draft and made provisions that food businesses need to mention that the product contains GMO on front of the pack of the label, if a product contains 1% or more GM ingredient.
The new draft shall be applicable to (a) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) intended for food use, (b) Food ingredients produced from GMOs that contain modified DNA, and (c) Food ingredients produced from GMOs that do not contain modified DNA. It includes ingredients/additives/processing aids derived from GMOs.
However, these regulations shall not apply to genome edited crops of SDN1 and SDN2 category (SDN 1 and SDN2 types of genome editing are currently being used in Indian labs to breed new crops imparting traits, including resistance to diseases, drought, salinity stresses, and improving nutritional quality through bio-fortification).
Also, prior approval would be needed for manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of these products. The draft lays down that ‘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 and the provisions of these regulations are in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other rules or regulations made under the Act’.
The draft further says that if a GMO is to be used as seeds or other plant-propagating material (cultivation), food business operators shall parallely submit an application to the GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for approval.
On Labelling, the draft prescribes that all such food products must be labelled with the words ‘Contains genetically modified organisms’, if the product contains one per cent or more of the GM ingredient considered individually and 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 while this labelling requirement is not applicable to GM-food products in which the modified DNA is not detectable,” reads the draft.