FSSAI Releases Draft Regulations For GM foods:
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released draft regulations for GM foods.
Overview of the Draft:
- No one can manufacture or sell any food products or food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without prior approval.
- Specifies norms that labs will need to adhere for testing GM foods.
- The proposed regulations will apply to “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) or Living Modified Organism (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing.”
- The regulations’ ambit will include food products, that may have been made using food ingredient or processing aid derived from GMOs, even if GM content is not present in the end-product.
- Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms “shall not be used as an ingredient” in infant food products.
- The draft also proposes labelling norms for food products that contain one per cent or more than one per cent of GMO content.
- GMO regulation in India:
- The task of regulating GMO levels in imported consumables was initially with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union environment ministry.
- Its role in this was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and FSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods.
Genetically Modified Organism (Transgenic Organism):
- In GMO, genetic material (DNA) is altered or artificially introduced using genetic engineering techniques.
- Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes.
- Inserted genes usually come from a different organism (e.g. In Bt cotton, Bt genes from bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis are induced).
- Genetic modification is done to induce a desirable new trait which does not occur naturally in the species.