what is GMO Crops Import Threshold ?
Has been decided by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Initially, this task was the responsibility of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), The environment ministry, However, its role in this was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and FSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods. 1% Threshold in 24 imported crops has been decided. FSSAI has also ordered that non-GM-origin-cum-GM-free certificate’ issued by a competent authority
earlier in August 2020, FSSAI had issued the order that 24 food crops the country imports would need a ‘non-GM-origin-cum-GM-free certificate’ issued by a competent authority.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): These are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Genetically Modified Crops: Conventional plant breeding involves the crossing of species of the same genus to provide the offspring with the desired traits of both parents. Genus is a class of items such as a group of animals or plants with similar traits, qualities or features.
Bt cotton is the only Genetically Modified (GM) crop that is allowed in India. It has alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.
Herbicide Tolerant Bt (Ht Bt) cotton, on the other hand, is derived with the insertion of an additional gene, from another soil bacterium, which allows the plant to resist the common herbicide glyphosate. In Bt brinjal, a gene allows the plant to resist attacks of fruit and shoot borers. In DMH-11 mustard, genetic modification allows cross-pollination in a crop that self-pollinates in nature.
Legal Position of GM crops in India: In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for the commercial release of GM crops. Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Regulation of Imported Crops: The task of regulating GMO levels in imported consumables was initially with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). Its role was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006andFSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods.