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What is GM Food?

 

Do you like the most of us think that you have never eaten a GM food ever? It’s time you need to think again since GM food is everywhere in our food supply! GM Foods or Genetically Modified foods are bio-engineered foods which are produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. In simple terms they are not made out of the natural occurring food.

Are GM food not good for us?

The answer is Yes and No. The density of food can be increased through genetic engineering. For instance, the scientists have been able to modify the simple rice into Vitamin A rich rice which can especially be beneficial for places which have had cases of children with vitamin deficiencies. Also GM crops, which can withstand pests and droughts, could be a solution to the food crisis looming over India.
The most promising GM crop can actually yield 25-30% more than the original seed. But what about the long term health implications that they might have on us? The debate is still on whether the radiation and chemicals are safe to produce the food. The WHO feels the main concerns with GM food and human health are allergic reactions, gene transfer, out crossing or even environment concerns.

State of GM foods in India

Our laws regarding the food safety in India are weak with more than 15 million tonnes of genetically modified soybean and canola oil being imported into the country over the last few years. More than 60 countries in the world label all packaged food that contains or is made of GM organisms. Strict labeling over GM food is being done in countries like European Union nations, Australia and China. Six most common type of GM products are
● Corn
● Soyabean
● Canola Oil
● Milk
● Tomatoes
● Potatoes
Recently CSE published a report where a sample of processed products which were based on common GM crops were taken. And the findings were pretty shocking! Overall 32% samples were GM positive and 80% of these GM-positive samples were imported. Also, 56% of  oils samples, 26% of packaged food samples and even 25% of infant food samples were GM-positive.

Know your products

As a consumer choose your products wisely . Always read the markings on the packaged product. FSSAI has proposed a labeling rule on GM Food which says “All food products having total Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredients 5% or more shall be labelled. The total GE ingredients shall be of top three ingredients in terms of their percentage in the product.” The labeling shall be as:

“Contains GMO/Ingredients derived”

Always know the facts of the products you are buying. The simple choices that we make can have a huge impact on our health. Its always about your choice, it better be an informed one!!

Ruchika Goyal

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