Tighten regulatory mechanisms to check entry of GM foods:CSA

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) The Genetically Modified (GM) food and crop is getting free entry into the country in the absence of any critical regulatory mechanisms, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) said.

Many food products which have soya/corn/cotton/canola ingredients packaged in countries like the US and Canada, which practice no system of segregation and where GM gets mixed up with non-GM, have entered the country, representatives of the CSA and Greenpeace told newspersons here today.

''Consumers are neither aware nor can they make informed choices based on a labelling regime.'' In addition to packaged food products, potentially dangerous seed quality material is also being imported of some crops like soyabean and corn with no real checks at the point of import, they said.

''There is no evidence of any conditions related to imports of GM food/feed/LMOs being followed, as notified by the Ministry of Commerce in April 2006,'' said DR G V Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director, CSA.

In a MoU submitted to Minister of State for Trade and Commerce Jairam Ramesh, they urged him to put into place ''import restriction systems'' to ensure implementation of April 2006 notification.

Rajesh Krishnan, Genetic Engineering Campaigner, said, open air trials of GM crops, including GM rice in 12 locations and Bt Okra and Bt Brinjal in at least another 20 locations across the country this season, posed threats to farmers livelihood as ''experience also shows that it is nearly impossible to control contamination after it occurs.'' None of the concerned ministries - Health, Environment and Forests, Commerce, Science and Technology and agriculture - seem to be coordinating with each other nor working out a comprehensive regulatory regime which addresses fundamental concerns around the technology,'' said Ms Kavitha Kuruganti, CSA.

In another MoU to Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Anbumani Ramadoss, they pointed out that as in the case of approving Bt cotton for commercial cultivation, the same strategy is being deployed in GM food products by the regulators.

With the ever-growing evidence on the negative health impacts of GM foods from across the world, they said products with imported ingredients which could potentially contain GM ingredients should be disallowed in the country.

UNI

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