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GM labelling

This is reference to “Why we need GM Labelling” (Editorial, Oct. 20), which is timely caution to administrators. With Bt Cotton occupying more than 75 per cent area, crushed cotton seed cake, the by-product of Bt Cotton, in future will constitute a major ingredient in concentrate feed for milch animals. Over a period of time, the milk from such animals may contain traces of genetically engineered material.

Similarly, corn is also another important ingredient in concentrate feed. Bt Corn, which is still being explored at the research level, in future may be pushed just like Bt Cotton. Bt Brinjal is in the wings, awaiting a green signal from government.

Considering this, it is imperative that methodologies may be initiated for GM labelling of all GM-based products that are coming into the market, or are poised to so that a consumer has an informed choice.

To draw a parallel, there are enough acts to protect consumer interest as far as organic products are concerned. Government and private certifying agencies are effectively monitoring and guiding organic growers and certifying their products which are affixed with the appropriate organic logos. Similar checks may be formulated for GM labelling as well.

B. Gururajan,

Chennai

* * *

The position taken by the producers of GM foods that they have no objection in others labelling their products GM-free is preposterous, to say the least. Mandatory GM labelling and compulsions on advertising agencies to carry that in the advertisements of such products may give a consumer an informed option in this regard. But can we expect the government, which has supported the pesticide manufacturer in the case of banning the deadly Endosulfan, to be uncompromising in the matter of GM labelling?

A.P. Govindankutty,

Cheruthuruthy

* * *

In a large developing country such as ours, there is a dire need for some rules or laws for everything that governs life. The need for a GM-free certification for food products to ensure the healthy living of people is a case in point. But one feels that unless consumer awareness is alive across the length and breadth of the country, no consumer law is going to serve people effectively.

S. Ramakrishnasayee,

Ranipet

* * *

As the Editorial rightly says, the European Union and other nations have enacted legislation making it mandatory for manufacturers to declare if the contents have genetically modified food. Even restaurants serving genetically modified food must print this on their menu. Europe, Asia and many other countries, with the exception of North America, have been sceptical about the benefits of GM products.

The public should have the choice to choose the food they are comfortable with. India has a diverse foodgrain-based culture. This has evolved over centuries and should not be put to risk. Labelling should not only mention the nutritional values as we do now but also its source like organic foods do. India should evaluate the many controversies and apprehensions surrounding GM foods before approving them for general use.

H.N. Ramakrishna,

Novi, Michigan

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