Despite India’s law barring genetically modified (GM) foods from being produced or sold in the country without government approval, a study by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that thanks to lax enforcement, a deeply flawed labeling system, and corporate deception, Indian supermarkets are inundated with GM foods.
“Most GM foods in the study did not disclose GM on their labels and 15 percent made false claims saying they were GM-free.”
— Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment
After conducting tests on “domestically produced and imported edible oils, processed and packaged foods, and infant foods,” CSE researchers found that 32 percent of the samples tested contained genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and 80 percent of the GMO-positive foods were imported from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
“Most GM foods in the study did not disclose GM on their labels and 15 percent made false claims saying they were GM-free,” Sunita Narain, CSE’s director general, said in a statement.
CSE’s results expose “large-scale illegal presence and sale of genetically modified (GM) processed foods in the country,” researchers wrote in a summary of their findings. “GM contamination was found in infant food, sold for children with medical ailments, including allergies. Two products by Abbott Laboratories, the American healthcare company, were found to be GM-positive—one was for lactose-intolerant infants and the other was a hypoallergenic (for minimizing the possibility of an allergic reaction). Neither product has any label warning parents that this food has GM ingredients.”
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