Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greenpeace raises GM alert on top Indian foods

Food products of Nestlé, Cadbury, Kellogg, Britannia, and Safal are among a ‘red list’ in a guide on GM-free food released by Greenpeace in New Delhi on September 8, 2009.

The ‘Safe Food Guide’ is a first of its kind in India, and ranks 16 well-known food brands.

The guide comes at a time when the Indian Government is on the verge of approving genetically modified Bt Brinjal.

Following-Bt Brinjal, there are close to 40 other food crops, like rice, tomato, mustard, and potato, which the Indian Government may approve.

“The safety of GM crops as a foodstuff for animals and humans is unknown and the testing regimes are inadequate. Studies on lab rats show potential health risks including allergies, abnormal growth of liver and kidney and many unpredictable effects. Therefore, this guide plays an important role in informing consumers,” Jai Krishna, GM Markets Campaigner, Greenpeace India, said while releasing the guide.

The guide also comes in a pocket-sized version and lists companies based on their responses to Greenpeace India.

Companies like MTR, Dabur, Haldiram’s, ITC Foods, PepsiCo India, and Ruchi Soya are in the ‘green list’ based on their stand that their products are GM-free as of today.

In the ‘red list’ are Nestlé, Hindustan Unilever, Kellogg, Cadbury, Agro Tech Foods Ltd, FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd (a unit of Bharti Enterprises), Bambino Agro Industries Ltd, Britannia Industries Ltd, Godrej Hershey Foods, Parle, and Safal.

Bejon Misra, Managing Trustee, Healthy You Foundation, received the first copy of the guide.

“It is an excellent tool for the consumers to become aware about GMOs. This initiative by Greenpeace has brought these positions of food brands in the open. This would empower consumers to make an informed choice,” Misra said.

Greenpeace demands that: i) food businesses adopt a no-GM policy, because of the risks to health and environment, and ii) take proactive steps to inform consumers about the presence or absence of GM ingredients in their products.

Notes to the editor:

1. Download the Safe Food Guide: A consumer's guide to GM free food

2. Download the Safe Food Pocket Guide

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