FSSAI proposes regulations for Genetically Modified food

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recently published a draft set of regulations to be applied to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) intended for food use.  

The proposed Food Safety and Standards (Genetically Modified Foods) Regulations, 2022 suggests mandatory prior approval from the regulator to manufacture, sell and import food or ingredients produced from GMOs.  

“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,” the draft regulations said.  

As soon as the draft is approved and the law enters into force, it will apply not only to foodstuffs made from GMOs with or without DNA modifications, but also to food items with chemicals, additives, or processing aids originating from GMOs. In all these cases, when the product contains 1% or more of the GM ingredient when taken as a whole, it must present on the label the following statement “contains genetically modified organisms.”  

According to the FSSAI, this labeling requirement also applies to the accidental or technically unavoidable presence of GM components. On the other hand, for those GM food products with undetectable modified DNA, the labeling requirement will not be relevant.  

The draft has been made available for public consultation from November 18, the suggestions can be submitted to the regulator within 60 days.