fssai: Pro-GM crops group up in arms against the Centre’s natural farming push, others oppose FSSAI draft on transgenic foods | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: At a time when the Center is paving the way for pesticide and chemical fertilizer-free ‘natural agriculture’ in the country, Anil Ghanwat, leader of the Maharashtra-based farmers’ organization who was also a member of the Supreme Court-appointed committee on the now repealed Farm Act in 2021 – – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been asked to lift the moratorium on approval of genetically modified (GM) crops in India to find out how transgenic crops will ultimately help farmers where the much-hyped ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)’ output loss will only hurt their interests.
Zhanwat, president of the Independent Bharat Party, the political wing of the Krishak Sangathan (SS), told the prime minister in a letter that if the central government failed to lift the moratorium on GM crops by February 16, his party and others would launch a “free India”. The movement’s February 17 slogan, “Biotechnology to feed India. Natural farming to starve India” highlights how organic farming experiments in Sri Lanka have harmed farmers there.
SS workers will start the movement by planting GM seeds of an unauthorized variety, which, Ghanwat said, has been falsely labeled as illegal transgenic seeds. The organization has long demanded pending approval of GM food crops, including Bt eggplant, and non-food transgenic crops, such as HTBT (herbicide tolerant) cotton. India has so far allowed commercial cultivation of only one GM crop, Bt cotton.
Ghanwat’s letter comes at a time when the GM-free India Alliance and other organizations, including the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), have opposed the central food regulator FSSAI’s recent draft regulations on GM food, saying the move would widen. The way to “easy entry” of transgenic food into the country without protecting the interests and health concerns of consumers.
“ZBNF will hurt farmers as well as land … We must learn from the catastrophic Sri Lankan compulsory organic farming experience of 2021. Many areas have reported that this year’s crop is 60% of last season. Sri Lanka is at risk of famine from its unscientific Fed,” Ghanwat wrote.
The letter, copied to the Chief Justice of India and the Union Agriculture Minister, questioned why the report of the SC-appointed committee had not been released yet. “If the SC does not release the report then (February 16) despite my request for release of two letters, I will release it at the appropriate time to inform policy makers and farmers, especially since most of the SC committee submissions were now in favor of the repealed farm law.” “Jhanwat said
He said he would bring farmers to Delhi to show their support for reforms after the assembly elections in five states.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) published a draft regulation in November last year proposing to label all food products with 1% or more genetically engineered ingredients as “GMO derived GMO / ingredients” which is an alliance for GM-free India. And their chances of effectively controlling SJM genetically modified organisms (GMOs) seem to be quite weak.
“Ninety-nine percent of the world’s GMO crops are herbicide-tolerant, glyphosate / roundup-resistant. Glyphosate is a potential carcinogen and cause kidney and liver failure. Section 21 of the FSSAI Act requires you to control food so that it does not contain any pesticides. Your irresponsible, illegal draft GMO prescribes pesticides on processed foods. Your notice does not mention GMO food testing for pesticide / herbicide residues. The FSSAI needs to understand that biosecurity regulations are designed to protect the environment and public health, “he said.
SJM National Co-Convener Ashwani Mahajan in his remarks in the draft notification of FSSAI.
Demanding withdrawal of the draft notification and protection of public health and environment, Mahajan said, “We already have bitter experience about FSSAI and how it works to facilitate food industry business in the name of regulation, how it brings over-processed food. Instead of promoting healthy and holistic solutions and how, even in the case of GM foods, it has already reflected the conflict of interest on its scientific panel. We also know that these draft regulations were first shown to industry companies for their feedback before citizens were consulted. ”
The FSSAI has already extended the deadline for stakeholders, including the general public, to comment on its draft by 5 February.
“This limited extension is insufficient and negligible. While it may be somewhat effective, it does not address what citizens want. We object that regulators are ignoring what citizens are demanding. Citizens want to be involved with these regulations proposed by the FSSAI because There is a huge demand from people in India who want to keep their food GM-free, so they want a local language version of the draft regulation and also ask for advice on organizing. By the regulator. Serious “, Coalition for a GM-Free India said in a statement.

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