According to the social reporter of rahnam news agency, the import and consumption of transgenic products has been one of the most controversial issues in the country’s health field.
These products are the result of genetic manipulation; Transgenic products have been entering the world market for many years, but they are like a closed box, and many of the consequences and side effects of consuming these products on human health, especially in the long term, have not yet been determined.
According to the law, transgenic products in the consumer market of our country must be labeled so that consumers have the right to choose between transgenic and non-transgenic products, and at the same time, consumers know whether or not it is transgenic at the time of purchase. But rahnam’s field visits indicate that the amount and percentage of transgenic product labeling in the consumer market of our country is very small.
To investigate the dimensions of this issue and why the very weak and incomplete implementation of the law requiring the labeling of transgenic products in our country Mahmoud Al Boyeh; Director General of Food Products and Beverage of the Food and Drug Organization We had a conversation, which you can read in detail below:
rahnam: What happened that the scientists of the world thought of producing transgenic products?
The history of transgenic food goes back 27 years; In 1996, the first transgenic products entered the market and later spread to all countries, and our country is no exception.
The reason for the discovery of genetically modified crops was that the growth rate of agricultural and food products was not in proportion to the growth rate of the world’s population and the number of humans added to the planet was more than the food produced in the world; This raised the concern of scientists about the occurrence of food shortage in the world; One of the solutions was to produce more food in a smaller area; In this regard, by making genetic changes in some food products, they made them resistant to pests and injuries and lack of water.
rahnam: What are the most transgenic products in our country?
The most products that are discussed in the world about transgenics include soy, canola and corn; There is no production of transgenic products in our country; Of course, research centers are planting these products in the laboratory for research on these products.
At present, oils include the majority of transgenic products.
rahnam: One of the mandatory issues is the requirement to label transgenic products so that consumers have the right to choose between transgenic and non-transgenic products. Despite this, it seems that due to the negative mentality of the people towards transgenic products and the uncertainty of the long-term effects of these products on people’s health, the factories producing transgenic products do not want to put labels on these products; Why is the law requiring the labeling of transgenic products not implemented correctly in our country?
Recently, the representatives of the Islamic Council have approved the 2nd paragraph of Article 34 of the Seventh Development Plan Bill, which emphasizes that the release and cultivation of any transgenic product produced inside or outside the country is prohibited on the country’s land, as well as importers and producers of food and beverage products. who use transgenic raw materials are obliged to insert labels on these products; Otherwise, their license will be suspended.
According to this article, only research on transgenic products is allowed, but the Ministry of Jihad Agriculture is obliged to reduce the import of all transgenic products.
Regarding labeling, there are differences of opinion among researchers and even the practice of different countries. For example, European Union countries believe that labeling should be “source oriented” in the sense that if the corn seed we plant in the ground is genetically modified, the oil extracted from it should also be labeled genetically modified.
Another group of countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan do “product-oriented” labeling, meaning that if a product derived from a GM product contains GM genomic elements, GM labeling must be done on it. For example, oils are free from the genetic material of cells, and therefore there is no trace of transgenics in them, and even if a small amount of genetically modified genetic material remains inside it, it is destroyed in the oil extraction process, so these countries say there is no need. Insert a GM label on oils obtained from GM foods!
In our country, in the Secretariat of the Biosafety Council, there are discussions about whether product labeling should be source-oriented or product-oriented; A part of this work has been assigned to the Food and Drug Organization to determine the basis of labeling from now on.
rahnam: So far, the labeling of transgenic products in our country has been based on the product or the source of the products?
Until today, we have labeled the transgenic products of the country based on the source.
rahnam: Whether there is a requirement to label GM products is different from whether these products are actually labeled. How many percent of transgenic products in the market of our country have transgenic labels?
We claim that all transgenic products on the market have a transgenic label!
rahnam: It may be because the transgenic label is placed on the products; The desire of consumers to buy these products will decrease and therefore the sellers of these products will be forced to sell transgenic products at a lower price in order to create a competitive market with non-transgenic products; What are the main transgenic products in the market and can it be said that the manufacturers’ fear of reducing the desire of buyers to buy transgenic products is the reason for not putting labels on some of these products in the market?
Currently, 100% of the products that enter the country through official channels are labeled as genetically modified, but some products may also enter the market through unofficial channels that are genetically modified but are not labeled because they are smuggled!
Oils include the main transgenic products in our country; Also, most of the soybean products in the world are genetically modified, but 33% of the corn in the world is genetically modified, and most of the corn products that enter the country are non-genetically modified products, so most of the snacks that are made from corn in the country are non-genetically modified, but If a factory has genetically modified corn and oil products, it is required to put a label on it.
Cottonseed and rapeseed are also among the major transgenic products in the country, although cottonseed is mainly used for industrial purposes, and rapeseed oil is also used, which mostly does not contain any traces of transgenics, but due to the source-oriented labeling in Iran, the resulting oil products are Rapeseed seeds must also be labeled as transgenic, and if a company does not include it, it is a violation.
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