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Beware of that branded food packet. It may have GM ingredient inside

Joyjeet Das | Updated on: 16 March 2018, 20:53 IST
(Arya Sharma / Catch News)

The branded food items that you assuredly pick up from supermarker shelves, thinking they are fine for you and family, may not be so. A complaint to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) alleged that genetically modified food was being imported into India in “large scale”.

Coalition for a GM-Free India

As of now, GM food is not permitted in India, though genetically engineered seeds have been in use for the cultivation of non-food crops. GM food, however, is available in other markets.  

Coalition for a GM-Free India

The complaint by Coalition for a GM-free India alleged that some brands of packaged food whose labels state that could be genetically modified were being sold in several locations in India. It cited the examples of Betty Crocker Delight Super Moist Cake and Ragu pasta sauce, which were found on shelves in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Noida.

Coalition for a GM-Free India

Some canola oil brands were also alleged to be importing “strongly suspected” GM canola oil from Canada, including Jivo, Hudson, Sattvic, Wesson, Crisco, Mazola, Canola Harvest, CanDrop and Alom, alleged the complaint signed by activist Kavita Kuruganti. The imports of soybean oil and corn products were also under suspicion due to sourcing from GM-soybean growing countries like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the United States and GM-corn producing places like US and Brazil.

Coalition for a GM-Free India

The complaint, a copy of which is with Catch, also alleged that the cottonseed oil in snacks from brands such as Haldiram's and Tasty Treat's were “strongly suspected” to be form Bt cotton as 90% of cotton grown in India was such genetically modified crop.

Coalition for a GM-Free India

The letter alleged that “multiple complaints to FSSAI through its online complaint portal more than a month ago and on Twitter have yielded no results.” 

The FSSAI is an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through regulation and supervision.

First published: 16 March 2018, 20:53 IST
Joyjeet Das @joyjeetdas

Equal-opportunity critic and passionate about cinema, politics and food, not necessarily in that order. He writes, when the urge to tell a story overpowers everything else.