Government Of India Declares That All Genetically Modified Foods Be Labeled
Date 2012/6/24 18:17:54 | Topic: Hindu Press International
INDIA, June 19, 2012 (wakingtimes.com): The ministry of consumer affairs in India issued a gazette notification early this month indicating that every food package containing genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel, the words 'GM.' Indian consumers will soon have something that most of the world has been urging their governments for a long time...the opportunity to know whether the packaged food that they are buying contains genetically modified organisms.
Greenpeace India, welcomed this step by the government but also criticized officials suggesting that it would hardly make an impact. "While labeling does give the consumer a chance to avoid genetically modified food in the market, what our government seems to forget is that it is impractical here as more than 90% of our food is unprocessed and non-packaged and forms a chunk of the unorganized sector," said sustainable agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace, Shivani Shah.
The gazette notification also lacks clarity on the threshold for the presence of GM ingredients. It mentions no mechanisms on how this will this be monitored, and whether this is applicable to both primary and processed foods.
Interestingly, a similar labeling debate is brewing in US too. The Guardian recently reported that last month, nearly one million signatures were delivered to county registrars throughout California calling for a referendum on the labeling of genetically engineered foods. In the US, around 70% of packaged food products contain traces of GM crops because ingredients like corn, soya and canola oil are genetically modified. But in Europe, only 5% food sold contains GM traces. Europe also has a 'zero tolerance' policy that bans any imported food from containing even traces of GM substances.