A forum of Indian consumer groups has warned the country’s ministry of consumer affairs that they have encountered transgenic food products without mandatory GM labelling.
The GM-Free India coalition alleged that cotton seed oil from Bt cotton and genetically modified soybean oil were being sold contrary to existing rules, brought in earlier this year, which require transgenic products to be clearly labelled.
"It is an open secret that while no GM food crop has been approved for commercialisation in our country, cotton seed oil from Bt cotton is being sold without any monitoring or labelling,” alleged Rajesh Krishnan, the coalition’s co-convenor.
“It is unfortunate that Indians are forced to eat [transgenic food products] without being given a choice."
While cotton-seed oil is processed in India, soybean oil can be imported through a one-time clearance provided by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
"However, no soybean oil package sold in the country or other products which contain such imported soybean oil from GM soy are being marked as such, despite the new notification coming into effect from January 1.", said the Coalition in its letter to BN Dixit, legal metrology director at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.