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Posted on Jan 31, 11:35AM | UNI
New Delhi, Jan 30 : Greenpeace India today said an independent scientific analysis has found major flaws in the Genetically Modified (GM) corn bio-safety assessment process by
the regulatory bodies in India.
Open field trials of the GM crop developed by Us biotech
giant Monsanto were allowed without bio-safety study to be completed.
Greenpeace has demanded a stop to these field trials.
The environment NGO had asked Testbiotech, an independent research agency, to assess data presented by Monsanto, to the Indian authorities 'for bio-safety tests prior to commercial approval' of its GM corn variety.
The bio-safety and field trials data of the said GM corn data was accessed by Greenpeace through RTI procedures from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), which is the nodal agency for all environmental releases of GMOs in India.
The stacked gene GM corn (MON89034xNK603 ) with bacterial genes for pest resistance and herbicide tolerance leads the GM crop approval pipeline and has been released into fields several times in the past 4 years in the name of field trials, which can lead to contamination of our food and seed supply chain.
According to Shivani Shah, sustainable Agriculture campaigner,
Greenpeace India, these field trials have been permitted for the
last 4 years without bio-safety studies being completed.
These trials were permitted based on biosafety data
generated by Monsanto itself in its labs in US.
The Testbiotech analysis highlights that even those asessment
presented have been found to be incomplete and lacking in scientific rigor. Interestingly most of the data provided was for the parent lines with the single genes with almost no studies on the stacked gene corn for which was the application, it said.
The review report concluded that based on the data presented by Monsanto, no decisions could be taken on the safety of the plants.
Apart from missing data and inadequate investigations, there are in fact substantial indications for health and environmental risks.
''This stacked gene variety of Monsanto's corn had been in
controversy earlier in 2011 when Greenpeace had exposed grave violations of field trial rules by the company in its trials at Bijapur District in Karnataka,'' the NGO said.
In the light of increasing evidences of failure of the GM regulatory system in India and the potential impacts of GM crops to our health, environment and socioeconomic realities, the Ministry of Environment and Forest headed by Jayanti Natarajan should stop the field trials, Greenpeace said.