European and Indian Regulations
In order to evaluate the feasibility of our product’s implementation, we researched the european and indian regulations concerning the production and distribution of genetically engineered micro-organisms.
We found that the EU directive 90/219/EEC of the European Economic Community relative to the contained use of GMO would allow production of this product within the european market. This directive is enforced in each of the EU member’s national regulations.
In India, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority in India) told us that the safety is needed to be established in order for our product to be authorized. Both Dr. A. K. Sharma from the FSSAI and Dr. Sunita Grover the Dairy Microbiology Division at the National Dairy Research Institute advised us to chose micro-organisms that were already present in the fermented foods we were targeting, which is what we did. These organisms are all in Risk Group 1 (Unlikely to cause human disease.), and have the GRAS status (Generally Considered As Safe).
We also found out that the Indian law currently doesn’t allow GM microorganisms because of the use of antibiotic markers that makes them unsafe to eat. So we'll have to remove all antibiotic markers from our strains.
According to Samir K. Brahmachari, former director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in India, our product has a greater chance to be authorized if there is no more live bacteria in the final form of the dish, that is actually eaten. We checked this affirmation and found out this regulation:
‘...food stuffs...derived from Living Modified Organisms where the end product is NOT a Living Modified Organism are exempted from mandatory approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.’
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
Notification no. S. O. 1519(E) dated 23-8- 2007 in the Gazette of India
Since the idli is steamed for 10 to 15 minutes before it is eaten, we made an experiment to assess the presence of yeasts and bacteria in the steamed idli, and found out that the steaming process effectively sterilizes the idli and eliminates the microbes present in the batter. On the photo above, we can see than nothing grew in the plates inoculated with steamed idli batter, in the 5 different media we tested - which indicates that all the micro-organisms present in the batter were killed during the steaming process.