Friday, June 22, 2012

India: Labeling mandatory

Centre makes labelling of GM foods mandatory
By Gargi Parsai
The Hindu
June 21, 2012

Now, consumers can make ‘informed choice’ on buying packaged food products

Consumers in India can now make “informed choice” on whether they want to buy packaged food products that are genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, in an extraordinary gazette notification, has made an amendment to make labelling of every package containing genetically modified food mandatory from January 1, 2013.

The move will impact the imported GM foods that are flooding the markets.

The notification published on June 5, 2012 says: “Every package containing the genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel the words ‘GM.’”

[Read More…]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GM India

Genetically modified India
By Gokul Chandrasekar (writing by Robert MacMillan)
June 20, 2012

The debate over regulating genetically modified crops in India is back after two years of silence that followed the moratorium on the Bt brinjal, a genetically modified eggplant. This is thanks to the government’s wavering policy on agricultural biotechnology. If you study its policy since the eggplant flare-up, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was designed to do two things that don’t quite fit together.

Here is what happened:

The government released its report on the hills of the Western Ghats nearly nine months after the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) submitted it, and then only under a court order. The report, among other things, warned that genetically modified organisms were a threat to biodiversity in India. The government attached a disclaimer to the report, saying that it has not formally accepted the conclusions.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CU on AMA’s GE position

Consumers Union on AMA’s policy position on GE foods
By Consumers Union
Press Release
June 19, 2012

The American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted a new policy position in support of mandatory premarket systematic safety assessment for genetically engineered foods at its annual meeting in Chicago. Genetically engineered foods come from plants or animals that have been developed in a laboratory and had their genetic material altered in ways that do not occur in nature.

The AMA also said that priority should be given to basic research into food allergenicity to held identify potential allergens present in food as a result of genetic engineering, and into developing techniques to assess unintended effects of genetic engineering.

However, in spite of calling for mandatory premarket safety assessment of GE foods, AMA believes “there is no scientific basis for special labeling of genetically engineered foods.”

[Read More…]

AMA: Trust but verify

AMA: Trust but verify genetically modified foods
By Emily P. Walker
MedPage Today
June 19, 2012

CHICAGO — When it comes to genetically modified foods, the American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a “trust but verify” policy: the foods seem safe, but they still need to be checked out.

The policy adopted Tuesday at the AMA’s House of Delegates meeting states that although there is no proven risk to foods coming from plants or animals whose DNA has been tweaked, the association would still like to see such foods go through a mandatory pre-market safety approval process.

This both-sides-of-the-fence position on the issue stemmed from a contentious Sunday debate during a reference committee meeting, at which some AMA members called for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, while others maintained there isn’t enough science to show such foods pose any risks to human health.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GM label soon [India]

GM label on packaged food soon
by Jayashree Nandi
The Times of India
June 18, 2012

NEW DELHI - Soon Indian consumers will have the opportunity to know whether the packaged food that they are buying contains genetically modified organisms. But will that help? In India, where a majority of food is unprocessed and non-packaged, labeling on packaged food may hardly cover the huge populations’ right to choose.

A gazette notification issued by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution early this month says that every food package containing genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel, the words ‘GM.’

So now consumers in India are a little more empowered and can decide whether they would like to consume genetically modified foods. Greenpeace India, an environmental NGO, welcomed this step by the government but said 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.

[Read More…]

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