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GM-free cert order only for food crops not processed foods for now: FSSAI
Friday, 16 October, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a clarification regarding its order on GM-free certificate requirement for imported food and has stated that the order does not apply on processed food products in general.

The order issued in August mandated a requirement of GM-free certification for 24 crops imported in India to mandatorily declare ‘Non GM cum GM Free’ certificate from  January 1, 2021.

The clarification issued by the FSSAI reads, “It is clarified that the order is presently applicable only to food crops mentioned with the order and not to processed food products in general.”

According to an official with the FSSAI, the August order was also notified for comments from WTO –TBT member countries in September and the FSSAI will examine the comments before the order comes into effect.

Framing of regulations related to genetically-modified or -engineered food, is governed by the Section 22 of the FSS Act, and the same is in process of finalisation by the FSSAI. And therefore, in the meantime, it was decided that every consignment of imported food products listed by the FSSAI must be accompanied with a ‘Non GM cum GM Free’ certificate.

According to the FSSAI, the directive was issued as per the FSS (Import Regulations), 2017, which is to ensure safe and wholesomeness of articles of food imported into India.

The crops included Alfalfa, Apple, Argentina Canola, Bean, Chicory, Cowpea, Egg Plant, Flax Seed, Maize, Melon, Papaya, Pineapple, Plum, Polish Canola, Potato, Rice, Safflower, Soybean, Squash, Sugar Beet, Sugarcane, Sweet Pepper, Tomato, and Wheat.

The food importers were also asked to submit a detailed certificate declaring that the product is of Non-GM origin and does not contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and also not genetically-modified along with the name and address of the exporter, manufacturer and consignee, description of the product, invoice, lot/batch number, expiry date, quantity, date of manufacturing or packing, and date of shipment & place, amongst other.
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