Dou­ble stan­dards

Au­thor­i­ties make or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion dif­fi­cult, but are lax on GM food

Down to Earth - - COVER STORY -

OVER THE past two years, FSSAI has taken fee­ble steps to reg­u­late GM and or­ganic food. In De­cem­ber 2017, it fi­nalised rules for la­belling and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of or­ganic food and in­tro­duced the Food Safety and Stan­dards (Or­ganic Foods) Reg­u­la­tions, 2017. In April 2018, it is­sued the draft Food Safety and Stan­dards (La­belling and Dis­play) Reg­u­la­tions, 2018, on la­belling GM food for com­ments. But it seems the au­thor­ity wants to pro­mote GM food, whose safety to health and en­vi­ron­ment is a mat­ter of con­cern. From July 1, a farmer has to shell out any­where be­tween `15,000 and `50,000 a year, ap­proach a third party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion agency, and wait for one to three years to ob­tain an or­ganic cer­tifi­cate. Those who can­not af­ford to pay for the third-party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, will have to form a group under the Union gov­ern­ment’s Par­tic­i­pa­tory Guar­an­tee Sys­tem of or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which has huge im­ple­men­ta­tion gaps. On the con­trary, the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions for GM food are so lax that au­thor­i­ties will have to de­pend on the self-dec­la­ra­tion by the in­dus­try.

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