The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)'s recent order which set the tolerance limit of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food crops imported into India as 1 per cent has been declared as unacceptably high by the Coalition for a GM-Free India in its letter to the government.
The Coalition for a GM-Free India is an informal network of organizations and individuals in India, campaigning and advocating to keep India GM-Free and shift farming towards a sustainable path.
FSSAI, under the August 2020 order, had issued a directive for the requirement of a 'non-GM-origin-cum-GM-free certificate' accompanied with the imported food consignment for 24 food crops the country imports.
According to the letter, since the laboratories in India can detect only as little as 0.01 per cent presence of GMO in foods, the country must aim to accept imported consignments only when there is zero traces of GMO in the products, especially processed food as they come with a GMO-free certificate.
The letter addressed to Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, demanded to limit the GMO in imported food products to 0.01 per cent to prevent the illegal sale of imported GM food without any restrictions in the country. They also called for extending the GMO restrictions to food products other than food crops and urged the ministry to extend said regulations to fish, cotton, seeds and animal feed.
FSSAI has also been asked to consider strengthening its testing capabilities at every level to ensure that the people of the country consume GM-free food.