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New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) Food safety regulator FSSAI has sought public comments on draft regulation on manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of any food or food ingredient derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its draft notification, has also proposed that all food products having individual genetically engineered ingredients one per cent or more should be labelled as “Contains GMO/ingredients derived from GMO.” The regulation applies to GMOs or genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) or living modified organisms (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing. It also applies to processed food containing genetically modified ingredients produced from but not containing LMOs or GEOs or GMOs.

As per the draft notification, prior approval of FSSAI is required for manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of any food or food ingredient derived from GMOs.

The approval of FSSAI is mandatory even after taking prior approval from the biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Environment Ministry.

FSSAI may either grant approval or reject the application on the basis of the safety assessment of the article of food and food ingredient of processing aid.

After receiving the FSSAI approval, food business operators are required to apply for license as per the procedure specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.

Post approval, the FSSAI said if a food business operator has reason to believe that the GMOs or GEOs pose any risk to health, he should immediately “suspend” the manufacture, import, sale or distribution of such food items and take steps to recall the same.

Once a GMOs or GEOs or LMOs having ‘unique identification code’ (provided by the Biosafety Clearing House, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, etc) is approved by FSSAI, the approval for the same will not be required for any other food business operator, the draft notification said.

Approval will also not be required if it is used as an ingredient in any product, it added.

Further, FSSAI said any food laboratory having a designated GM food testing area may be designated for GM foods testing.

FSSAI has given 60 days time from the date of issue of the draft notification dated November 15 for any objections or suggestions from the public. PTI LUX ANS ANS