FSSAI keeps mum on illegal GM foods flooding the Indian market

With regard to GM foods found to be available in India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court last year (May 2017), wherein, on Page 9, it said “Hence, GM foods are not allowed in the country and neither can be regulated till such notification is issued”. On Page 11, it further said that “since regulation is yet to be framed, it follows that GM food is not permitted to be sold in the country“. Therefore, there is an admission in front of the Supreme Court that as far as FSSAI is concerned, GM foods are illegal. However, the Coalition found that no action is being taken by FSSAI against illegal GM foods flooding Indian food markets. We lodged a formal complaint with them once again for immediate action to be taken, with pictorial proof of many such labeled and untested-but-sure-to-be GM foods, to ensure that all such foods are removed from our food supply chain and to fix liability by initiating prosecution against the offenders of the law. We now await action from their side.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/wJCvyhEOEmuyK1az1 has a copy of the affidavit filed by FSSAI.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: GM Free India <indiagmfree@gmail.com>
Date: 16 March 2018 at 11:19
Subject: Complaint on import and selling of GM food illegally in violation of FSSAI Act – urgent action demanded
To: chairperson@fssai.gov.in, ceo@fssai.gov.in
Cc: kavitakuruganti@gmail.com, hfwminister@gov.in



  1. Shri Pawan Kumar Agarwal,

Chief Executive Officer,

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India,

FDA Bhawan, near Bal Bhavan,

Kotla Road, New Delhi – 110002


  1. Shri Ashish Bahuguna


Food Safety & Standards Authority

FDA Bhawan, near Bal Bhawan,

Kotla Road, New Delhi 110 002


16th March 2018

Subject: Complaint on import and selling of GM food illegally in violation of FSSAI Act – urgent action demanded


Dear Sirs,


Greetings! We draw your attention to the fact that large scale illegal imports of Genetically Modified food is happening in India, in violation of The Food Safety and Standards Act and your assurances to the Supreme Court of India (FSSAI affidavit dated 24/5/2017 in Writ Petition (Civil) 173 of 2006).


Multiple complaints to FSSAI through its online complaint portal more than a month ago and on Twitter have yielded no results. This is to lodge a formal complaint about the same, and request that immediate investigation be initiated into this matter, and prosecution initiated for all violations found.


As per Section 22 of The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 manufacture, sale, distribution or import of genetically modified foods is prohibited unless specifically provided for under Act and Regulations made under it.


Some recent developments compel us to write to you and lodge a complaint, for failure of implementation of the regulation in the Ministry.


1)      Certain brands of imported packaged food are openly being sold and the label says ingredients could be genetically modified, in various stores in locations all over the country, in Bengaluru, Noida, Mumbai amongst other locations. Neither GEAC nor FSSAI have not approved any of these products. Some examples and details of such food items, which were provided in complaints earlier and mentioned below too (receipts and photos attached) –

  1. Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Cake – sold in Mumbai, Bengaluru (this product does not even mention a FSSAI certification number on its packaging)
  2. Ragu Pasta Sauce – sold in Noida, Bengaluru


2)      As mentioned by Union Health Minster, Shri JP Nadda in Parliament on 29th December, 2017 – various companies have been illegally importing and selling genetically modified soyabean and canola oil for human consumption. Whilst these have the permission from Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, they do not have the permission from the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the apex body tasked to regulate food to ensure that it is safe for human consumption as well as to make sure that there is no wrong information put out to consumers. These products do not even have the labelling of being derived from genetically modified products.  The details of some of these are as mentioned below –


Source – https://scroll.in/article/863839/centre-admits-in-parliament-that-it-allowed-import-of-gm-edible-oil-in-violation-of-food-safety-law


Some canola oil brands importing strongly suspected Genetically Modified canola oil from Canada are as follows – Jivo, Hudson, Sattvic, Wesson, Crisco, Mazola, Canola Harvest, CanDrop, Alom etc.

Source –



DGFT data from link below shows that India imports significant quantities of soybean oil (HS code 1507) from Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and USA. All of these grow GM soybean oil. Below is the link used for DGFT data.



Some of these products are declaring that they are from the farms of Canada, for instance, which means that they are Genetically Modified, since an overwhelming proportion of canola cultivation there is of GM seeds (95%) and there is no segregation maintained of GM from non-GM. Same applies to GM soy oil.


Similarly we are importing corn products from US and Brazil and selling them in our stores. An example of that being the ‘American Garden Popcorn’ and ‘Jacker Potato Crisps’ imported from US and Brazil respectively. As you would know more than 90% of corn in US and Brazil are Genetically Modified corn.


These are in violation of FSSAI’s regulation, and must be withdrawn from the shelves. Penal action should be initiated by FSSAI.


3)      Whilst Bt cotton is allowed to be grown by GEAC, selling/consumption of Bt cottonseed oil has not been allowed by FSSAI and is therefore illegal. However given that more than 90% of cotton in India is Bt cotton, it is strongly suspected that the cottonseed oil used by the brands/products below is Bt cottonseed oil. These products do not even have the labelling of being derived from genetically modified products. These products must be withdrawn from the shelves and prosecution initiated by FSSAI.


  1. Haldiram’s Bhujia Sev/Moong Dal – sold in Mumbai, Bengaluru and other places in India
  2. Tasty Treat’sNavratan Mix/Khatta Meetha/ Bhujia Sev/ Schezwan Bhujia – sold in Bengaluru and other places in India


We request you to take strictest action to all those who are violating the law and ensure that un-approved products must be removed from the shelves immediately, whether in a packaged form or loose.


We present the attached list of products to show that processed food products made of genetically modified material is in the consumer food supply chain in India, which is unapproved by FSSAI. We can only conclude that either you remain unaware, or inactive, failing in the discharge of your responsibility.




Kavitha Kuruganti


Coalition for a GM-Free India

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