News

14 Jun 2018

Labeling rules framed by government are anti-national, anti-public health, anti-science and anti-democracy: Environmentalist and activist Vandana Shiva

New Delhi, June 13, 2018: Dr Vandana Shiva, founder-director of Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Environment (RFSTE)  met with CEO Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Pawan Agarwal on Wednesday to express concerns about the 5% genetically modified(GM) labelling. The Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 draft had been released for comments by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in April, 2018. She submitted her concern through a dossier, highlighting key problems with the proposed rule to label foods with more 5% percent GM ingredients only as GM foods.

The draft Regulation introduces labelling of genetically modified (GM) food. The FSSAI has been silent on GM food in India by way of import and otherwise, and was reprimanded in the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report 301 on “GM crops and their environmental effects” for no labelling of GM foods.

In the letter (here below), Dr Shiva emphasises, on “By introducing a clause  that allows 5% GMOs in our food you are acting in violation of India’s laws , you are making decisions that are sub judice, are unscientific, and undemocratic. And by allowing 5% GMOs in our food to not be labelled, i.e. seen as GMO free by consumers, you are misleading Indians about what they are eating, and denying them the Right to Know what is in their food. Further you are even going against  international standards that do not allow more than 1% GMO’s.

The only GMO food that was attempted in India was Bt Brinjal. After the public hearings across the country, the Ministry of Environment put a moratorium on its cultivation and commercialisation. This decision was based on the democratic will of the Indian people.”

Dr Shiva also has addressed the same letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and given a call to 10 millions strong Mahila Anna Swaraj network of women producers, women farmers etc and small farmers, tribals , artisanal producers and those upholding food heritage of good and safe food to petition against this step which threatens India’s food and health security.  In response to her call, thousands from India have already signed the petition supporting Dr Shiva.

She further added, “India is a land of fresh , healthy , diverse food traditions guided by  5000 years of Ayurveda, the science of life, the science of eating good, diverse food for a healthy life. Food is Sarvaaushadi . The labelling rules you have framed are anti national, anti public health, anti science, anti democracy. They are anti national because you are working against the order public in the context of food in India.You are legalising that which is illegal, and criminalising our indigenous and healthy food cultures. The only GMO food that was attempted in India was Bt Brinjal. After the public hearings across the country, the Ministry of Environment put a moratorium on its cultivation and commercialisation. This decision was based on the democratic will of the Indian people.”

The letter calls on government to “create an independent commission on Food and Health  with women and mothers, consumers , Ayurvedic experts, public health experts, doctors , nutritionists , artisanal producers to organise public hearing to frame the direction of the future of food for health in India.

Explore more sophisticated labelling that is based on the process of production and related to health rights of consumers  instead of misleading  reductionist labelling designed only to expand markets and profits for the fake food, junk food industry and MNCs.

Do an interdisciplinary and multi stakeholder assessment by of the social and ecological impacts if your draft is implemented , including the increase of plastic and aluminium waste and garbage . What would the impact be on increasing the unemployment crisis, the chronic disease crisis , and the garbage problem. Swachh Bharat is based  Swachh Bhojan , on  food that healthy and fresh and local ,free of pesticides and untested chemicals .

Exclude the small scale artisanal sector from any centralised industrial labelling system . We will help local communities evolve their Community Quality and Health principles for good food and our food culture”

For any more questions please contact Indra Shekhar Singh 9910589956.


Response to FSSAI’s New Labelling and Display Regulations 2018

Dt. 13.6.18

To

Mr. Pawan Aggarwal,
CEO
FDA Bhawan,
Near Bal Bhavan,
Kotla Road,
New Delhi 110002

Sub: Response to FSSAI’s New Labelling and Display Regulations 2018

India is a land of fresh , healthy , diverse food traditions guided by  5000 years of Ayurveda, the science of life, the science of eating good, diverse food for a healthy life. Food is Sarvaaushadi .

The labelling rules you have framed are anti national, anti public health, anti science, anti democracy.

They are anti national because you are working against the order public in the context of food in India.You are legalising that which is illegal, and criminalising our indigenous and healthy food cultures and local economies.

1.Illegal attempt to introduce GMOs in our diet

For example ,you are trying to introduce GMOs in our diets through the backdoor, even though growing and importing GMOs is not allowed in India.

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