GM foods illegally sold across India: CSE

GM foods illegally sold across India: CSE

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tested 65 imported and domestically produced processed food samples, which included a mix of oils, packaged foods, infant foods and protein supplements, for presence of genetically-modified foods. File photo for representation.

A study by an advocacy group on Thursday claimed that genetically-modified processed foods, including infant foods, were being widely sold in the country illegally.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tested 65 imported and domestically produced processed food samples, which included a mix of oils, packaged foods, infant foods and protein supplements, for presence of genetically-modified foods.

“Overall, 32% of the food product samples tested were GM positive,” CSE Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan said here.

“While most of the genetically-modified (GM) foods that were tested did not disclose GM on their labels, few also made false claims of being GM-free,” Bhushan said.

“46% of imported food products tested positive. These were made of or used soya, corn and rapeseed and were imported from Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand, the UAE, and the US,” he said, adding about 17% of the samples manufactured in India tested positive.

“Our government says it has not allowed the import of GM food products. Then how is this happening? We have found that laws are not the problem – the regulatory agencies are,” Sunita Narain, CSE Director General, said here.

Regulation needed 

The CSE recommended that Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) must set up necessary approval processes, have stringent labelling standards, set up laboratories to check for GM foods and take action against those responsible for bringing such foods illegally into the market.

The CSE said 56% of oil samples – including canola oil imported from Canada and the UAE, and Indian cottonseed oil – tested positive.

It said 25% of packaged food samples were positive – all imported and most corn-based from the US.

Two infant foods imported from the US and the Netherlands also tested GM positive.

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