Swadeshi Jagran Manch Calls on FSSAI to Withdraw Proposed Genetically Modified Food Regulations

RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch on Saturday called on the FSSAI to withdraw its draft GM food regulations, describing the food safety regulator’s proposals as a ‘prescription’ for a public health disaster and a ‘ ‘recipe’ to increase the risk of COVID-19 infections in the context of the pandemic.

Raising objections to the draft regulations in a communication to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the RSS body also criticized the regulator for “exceeding” its jurisdiction and called the draft regulations “irresponsible.” saying it will only deregulate GM food products in the country if it is enforced.

”The FSSAI project is designed to create markets for the global GMO (genetically modified organism) and processed food industry at the expense of our public health, sovereignty and security. The FSSAI cannot be allowed to deprive us of our health and freedom,” said Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) co-organizer Ashwani Mahajan.

“We demand that the FSSAI withdraw this draft notification and safeguard public health and the environment,” he added.

The food safety regulator had in November last year sought public comment on draft regulations on the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of any food or food ingredient derived from organisms genetically modified (GMO).

“You are exceeding your jurisdiction by drafting GMO regulations that are effectively deregulation,” the SJM said in submitting comments to the FSSAI on the proposed Food Safety and Standards (Genetically Modified or Modified Foods) Regulations. , 2021.

The SJM pointed out that the Ministry of Environment is the nodal regulatory body for biosafety.

”The Ministry of the Environment’s August 23, 2007 notification only allowed you to regulate the safety of foodstuffs, not living modified organisms and living GMOs, under Rule 11 of the GMO Regulatory Rules of 1989 under the Environmental Protection Act 1989,” the RSS body noted.

“You (FSSAI) do not have the power or authority to deal with exports and imports of GMOs which, under Rule 7, continue to be under the jurisdiction of the GEAC (GMO Assessment Committee). genetic engineering). You are an authority under the Ministry of Health whose mandate is to protect the health of the Indian people,” he argued.

The FSSAI must understand that biosafety regulations are designed to protect the environment and public health, she added.

The SJM said the proposed regulations are “completely weak and irresponsible” and asked the FSSAI why it does not act against the sale of “illegal genetically modified foods” without any regulatory approval, instead of “proposing ‘allowing GMOs in India’. ”.

”It is well established that processed and ultra-processed foods are at the root of the epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases. By promoting GMO industrial foods, the FSSAI is causing double harm to public health, first by allowing GMOs in our foods, and also by promoting industrial processing,” the SJM charged.

RSS said that while people around the world prefer non-GM foods, people in India and state governments do not want GM foods. Public health is a subject of state government as per Indian Constitution, he said and asked, “How can the FSSAI ignore public choices, health implications and environmental risks.”

”We are in the midst of a pandemic. It is now recognized that morbidity from COVID-19 is due to the presence of commodity related factors such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension which are linked to ‘toxins’ in our foods and processed foods . Your irresponsible regulatory proposal is therefore a recipe for increasing the risks of COVID-19. You are prescribing a public health disaster,’ he added.

(With PTI entries)

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Posted: Saturday January 15th 2022, 9:39 PM IST

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