STAFF REPORT IBD: The government has decided to introduce labelling of genetically modified (GM) food in the country in order to protect consumers from malpractices of producers and suppliers of bio-technology products.

Through this initiative the farmers would be given a choice whether to consume GM or non-GM food, an official of the agriculture ministry told this scribe.

It is to be mentioned here that the international rules for labelling of GM food vary considerably. Some countries are in the process of discussing legislation, some have mandatory laws in place for several years and others such as Canada have opted for a voluntary regime.

According to a concept paper relating to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Food Labelling, a number of options for GM food labelling are being considered by stakeholders in Pakistan.

“The genetically modified BT cotton has been commercially released in the country and some proper and standard labelling is required to protect the growers, who are interested in growing BT cotton or otherwise,” reveals the concept paper.

It also said that mandatory labelling may be a clear threat to the continued development of bio-technology products and processes.

Australia has taken a leading role by implementing stringent, science-based regulations and is among the first countries in the world to introduce labelling laws which are not about safety but respect the rights of consumers to make informed purchasing choices.

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