The issue is the use of Genetically Modified (GM) ingredients in foodstuffs. Greenpeace India today released its first ‘Safe food guide’, which has a ‘Red’ (avoid for now) and ‘Green’ (safe to use) recommendation.
The Green list comprises those companies that have assured Greenpeace they do not source GM ingredients (Pepsico, Dabur, etc). The Red list consists of companies that may have products containing GM ingredients (HUL, Nestle, etc).
Jai Krishna, sustainable agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace India, says, “The safety of GE crops as foodstuff for animals and humans is unknown and the testing regimes are inadequate. Studies on laboratory animals (rats) have pointed out potential health risks, including, abnormal growth of organs such as liver and kidney and many unpredictable effects. Therefore, this guide has an important role to inform consumers.”
There are no labellings regulations in India, according to Greenpeace. Currently, India does not allow the commercial cultivation of GM food crops, but there may be GM food ingredients in the food produced in India. Going by the 2008 figures given by Greenpeace, 56 GM crops are undergoing research in India. Of these, 41 comprise 169 varieties of cereals, oil seeds, cash crops, vegetables, fruit, pulses and spices. While a majority of these are in the laboratory stage, 11 food crops are undergoing various stages of field trial.
Source: Business Standard