Northwest Horticultural Council
India requires GM-Free Certification of Apple Shipments
Effective January 1, 2021
October 27, 2020
Current Situation: On August 21, 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued an order requiring shipments of apples (and other food products) to include a GM-free certificate, issued by a “Competent National Authority,” effective shipment arrival on or after January 1, 2021.
The order may be found here.
Background: With the order scheduled to be implemented on January 1, 2021, shipments departing the U.S. after November 15, 2020, will arrive in Indian ports after that date.
It is unclear why India has proposed this order and what concerns are being addressed by it. FSSAI does not address any safety-related issues nor do they offer any scientific justification for requiring non-GM certification. FSSAI requires certification from a “Competent National Authority.” No such certifying body exists within the government of the United States.
No apple shipped to India from the Pacific Northwest is genetically modified. More than 90 percent of U.S. apples exported to India are of the Red Delicious variety. There are no genetically modified Red Delicious apples in existence. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved two GM apple events available under the trade name of Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny. These apples belong to one company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, that maintains strict control of its limited production. The apples are in processed form (not whole apples) and are not exported.
The NHC is working with the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to avoid a market closure resulting from the FSSAI order.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact Northwest Horticultural Council vice president for scientific affairs, David Epstein, or Fred Scarlett, vice president for export programs at 509-453-3193.