Food

Government is jeopardising health of all Indians: anti-GM coalition reacts to CSE study

According to the Coalition for a GM-free India, CSE's findings point to adoption of an anti-citizen policy by the government

 
By Banjot Kaur
Last Updated: Friday 27 July 2018

Reacting to the latest study by Centre of Science and Environment (CSE), which found presence of genetically modified ingredients in processed food, the Coalition for a GM-free India, today, said that the government is jeopardising health of all Indians and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.

This coalition is a network of organisations working against genetically modified food since 2006. Talking to Down To Earth, the coalition’s Kavitha Kuruganti said that it is really appalling to see food regulators and concerned ministries are keeping mum, especially when CSE’s findings are very concerning. CSE, in its report, said that out of 65 food products tested, 21 were GM-positive. 

“This is not just negligence but adoption of an anti-citizen policy by the Government of India. We say this because the government knowingly created a regulatory vacuum in which there is no authority taking responsibility to put a check on such GM foods from coming into our food supply chain. This is highly irresponsible and reprehensible. Let us not forget that BJP came to power with an electoral promise that ‘genetically modified foods will not be allowed without full scientific evaluation on its long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers’, and what we are witnessing today is a clear reneging on this promise,” said the Coalition in a statement today.

About 46 per cent (16 out of 35) of imported food products were found to be GM-positive. Genetically modified ingredients were detected in about 17 per cent (5 out of 30) of the samples manufactured in India. GM-positive imported food products were mainly made from soy, corn and rapseed (canola). Domestic processed foods, which tested GM-positive, were made from cottonseed, i.e, cottonseed oil. 

Existing scientific evidence clearly points to numerous health risks from GM foods. Experiments conducted in different parts of the world, using various research protocols, show that GM foods are not safe. Adverse impacts include effects on growth and development of an organism, organ damage, immune system disorders, cancerous growth and reproductive health problems.

“The fact that every regulator and ministry has failed to discharge its responsibility shows a sinister and wilfully dangerous pattern that seeks to jeopardise and compromise the health safety of citizens of India. The Coalition for a GM-Free India now appeals to the Prime Minister of India to urgently intervene in the matter and ensure that citizens are not subjected to the hazards of GM foods,” the Coalition concluded.

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