In a letter to the FSSAI chairman, SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said bringing in GM foods clandestinely into this country is illegal and is against national legislation.
Since GM food crops are not allowed to be cultivated in the country, so processed food made from these crops should also be banned, Mahajan said.
Different agencies are required to clear such imports if any, that too after a comprehensive safety assessment, he said.
These agencies include the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, as well as the FSSAI, Mahajan said.
He said many exporting countries such as the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand are also contending that GM food products sold in the global market are as safe as conventional products, but the FSSAI should not allow such products.
SJM, in fact, believes that the import permissions given by GEAC in the past for GM soybean oil and GM canola oil should also be withdrawn by the regulatory body in light of the correct approach being adopted by FSSAI, he said.
There is no undue burden on exporting countries as is being argued by some WTO members in this implementation mechanism being put in place by FSSAI, the SJM said.
Those countries which have traceability and segregation mechanisms in place can very well certify the non-GM status of a product. In most of these countries, a mechanism does exist to certify for non-GM status in their domestic markets. PTI JTR ANB