New Delhi: Raising serious questions over the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods, reports suggest that the Centre is now considering commercial cultivation of a genetically modified hybrid variety of mustard.
As per a dna report, regulators Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) might take a decision in the next fortnight itself on GM mustard seeds.
The report claims that the regulators are functioning in secret and the data related to the impact on health and environment is being kept under wraps with GEAC citing 'third party business interests'.
It says that GEAC has refused to divulge information related to the commercially trial of GM mustard.
In a RTI response accessed by dna, GEAC has referred to “commercial confidence trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of third party”, which is against the Supreme Court directive. In 2008, the Supreme Court had directed bio-safety data be placed in public domains.
As the GEAC has repeatedly turned down RTI requests for biosafety dossier on GM mustard, the matter has now reached CIC where the appellant is asking for an urgent hearing.
At the 121st meeting of the GEAC, the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants' (CGCMP) plea for large-scale trials, called BRL (Biosafety Research Level) II trials, was considered and approved on July 18 last year, dna report added.
It is said that field trials have two levels - BRL I and BRL II. The former is done to take up a set of studies and to generate data, whereas the second one is an advanced commercial level trial. A team led by Delhi University's Deepak Pental has done both the trials.
Earlier on September 22, 2015, dna has also revealed that from 2008 to 2014, only 39 of the 133 GM crop field trials were properly monitored.
In 2010, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had put an indefinite moratorium on the commercial cropping of Monsanto’s Bt Brinjal.