Tehran Times – Iran’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will penalize food manufacturers who have not labeled genetically modified (GM) food products, Vahid Mofid, the caretaker of the FDA department of food and beverages has announced.
“We obliged the manufacturers to affix GMO labels to all genetically modified products since 6 months ago,” he added, IRNA reported on Sunday.
All food products containing ingredients derived from GMOs must be labeled, including soybean and corn oil, rapeseed and cottonseed, he also noted.
He went on to say that eight laboratories in addition to the Energy & Power Industries Laboratories Company can test the products in terms of containing GM organism.
Labeling the products is merely done out of respect for the customer and providing the consumer with different choices and has nothing to do with the product’s safety and health, he concluded.
Why genetically modified food should be labeled?
GM foods stem mostly from plants, but in the future foods derived from GM microorganisms or GM animals are likely to be introduced on the market. Most existing GM crops have been developed to improve yield, according to World Health Organization.
GM foods are being produced at a lower price than organic foods and are believed to have a greater benefit in terms of durability and nutritional values.
Answering to the question whether GM foods are safe or not WHO explains that foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health.
In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.
Nonetheless, those consumers who are concerned with the health hazards of such products can choose organic products or at least try to learn more about genetic engineering and decide what’s best for them and their families.
In Iran many are opposed to the use and importation of genetically modified food. In late May a public spearheaded campaign dubbed “no to genetically modified organisms” has called on the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to legally ban production and importation of any kinds of GMOs in or to the country.
Moreover, according to the European Commission nineteen out of the 28 member state countries of the European Union have voted to either partially or fully ban GMOs. This comes after the European Commission called for each EU nation to vote if they wanted to opt out of having to grow GMO crops even if they were allowed to do so within the boundaries of the EU.
Several countries such as France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia have chosen a total ban. Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium has opted out, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Flemish region of Belgium, England and Romania are open to GMOs.