Tuesday, February 9, 2010

India puts on hold first GM food crop on safety grounds

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
India has deferred the commercial cultivation of what would have been its first genetically modified (GM) vegetable crop due to safety concerns.
Protest against aubergine release an aubergine - January 16, 2010

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said more studies were needed to ensure genetically modified aubergines were safe for consumers and the environment.

The GM vegetable has undergone field trials since 2008 and received approval from government scientists in 2009.

Indian seed company Mahyco - partner of US multinational corporation Monsanto - which has developed BT brinjal, says the GM vegetable is more resistant to natural pests.

But anti-GM groups say there are serious health concerns and they allege that consumption of GM crops can even cause cancer.

The government-controlled Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) approved BT brinjal for commercial cultivation in October 2009.

Following an uproar from farmers and anti-GM activists, the environment minister held a series of national consultation meetings across India.

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