The protests came after a report by the Centre for Science and Environment found that 32% of the food samples it tested were GM-positive.

Bluru activists protest against GM food Food Safety Commissioner promises action
news Environment Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - 19:31

Armed with placards, activists in Bengaluru protested in multiple locations against the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods into the market on Monday. Activists also met Karnataka Food Commissioner and Head of Civil Supplies department Pankaj Kumar Pandey and highlight GM foods, and he reportedly agreed to look into the matter.

Among these activists was Kavitha Kuruganti from the Coalition for a GM-Free India. “He agreed that GM foods have not been concluded to be safe, and that it is known that there are no good effects. He has promised to look into the matter of prohibiting such foods from Karnataka, at least. Using the authority vested in the State Food Commissioner as per the Food Safety & Standards Act 2006, and he will now organise a meeting on the 18th of August with his officials to take a decision in this matter,” she said.

Kavitha said that similar demonstrations by activists will be carried out in other cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh until the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) makes its stand clear on the issue.

The protests came after a report was published by the Centre for Science and Environment at the end of July, which found that 32% of the food samples it tested were GM-positive. Following the report, many activists had asked FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal to stop the sale of these products. Some of them even met Pawan Kumar in early August, but that meeting was not fruitful.

“In the name of a regulatory vacuum, the FSSAI cannot deny citizens their right to know what they are eating, their right to safe food and their right to informed choices. When the FSSAI admits in the Supreme Court that it has not permitted any GM foods to be sold in India, it follows logically that it has to implement the provisions of the Act which disallow GM foods and unsafe foods from being sold in the country. Whose interests is FSSAI protecting by not ordering the removal of such unapproved hazardous GM foods from the market?” Kavitha asked.

Similarly, activists also questioned the FSSAI’s lack of transparency.

“This kind of mass deception is unacceptable and illegal. How safe are we or our children? It’s time that our authorities get their act together and answer some inconvenient questions,” said Sehar Iqbal from Greenpeace India.

 

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