The government on Wednesday clarified that India does not export genetically modified (GM) rice as there is no commercial variety of such crop in the country and its cultivation is also banned here.
The clarification from the commerce ministry came following a news report regarding food recall linked to alleged GM rice from India.
“It may be clarified that there is no commercial variety of GM rice in India, in fact the commercial GM cultivation of rice is banned in India. There is no question of export of GM rice from India,” the ministry said in a statement.
It further said in the particular incident, which was reported through Rapid Alert by EU (European Union), the GMO contamination is suspected to have been found in the rice flour which was processed in EU and they themselves are not sure of the exact source of the contaminant.
The broken white rice exported from India, which is allegedly one of the possibilities, has passed through many hands before reaching to the actual processors in EU, it said.
While there is always a possibility of mixing or cross contamination at every stage, the exporter has confirmed that the rice exported was non-GM.
“Since, there is no commercial variety of GM in India, proper testing was also done before shipment of the consignment. The possibility of GMO contamination due to white rice exported by India is not possible,” it said.
India is exporting strictly non-GM rice, the ministry said, adding the incident could be a conspiracy to malign the country’s image as a reliable supplier of quality rice to the world.
Experts in India both from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and agricultural experts from IARI as well as other rice experts, are however investigating the matter but re-confirming that commercial GM variety of rice is not grown in the country, it added.