Agri Business

Regulatory body directs testing of GM mustard to address safety concerns

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2016 Published on February 08, 2016


Lab testing will be done in a fortnight and the next meeting will discuss the lab report, said sources

Amid stiff opposition against GM crops, biotechnology regulator GEAC has asked for testing of genetically modified (GM) mustard seed in a bid to address safety concerns, before taking a final decision on its commercial cultivation.

Last week, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Union Environment Ministry had deferred its decision a proposal to commercialise cultivation of GM mustard seed as it sought additional information.

“In the last meeting, a sub-committee of the GEAC submitted its report. Thereafter, GEAC emphasised the need to test GM mustard seed once again to address the safety concerns if any,” according to sources.

The lab testing will be done in a fortnight or so and the next meeting will discuss the lab report, sources added.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had, last week after the GEAC meeting, said that his Ministry is not “rushing into any decision” neither will it “impose decisions without wide consultations.”

Javadekar’s clarification had come in the backdrop of mounting pressure from farmer organisations, political parties and activists who have alleged that the environment ministry is conducting its business on GM mustard ‘secretively’.

The Environment Ministry has received a proposal for commercial cultivation of a GM hybrid variety of the mustard plant developed by the University of Delhi’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants.

This is the first proposal that has come up before the present government after the previous regime had put a moratorium on commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal in 2010. Currently, Bt cotton is the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation.

Published on February 08, 2016

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