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3-Food: CRS and CARE-India not to import GM corn and soya

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TITLE:  CRS, CARE-India Not To Import GM Corn-soya
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India by Ashok B Sharma
DATE:   Jan 17, 2003

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CRS, CARE-India Not To Import GM Corn-soya

New Delhi, January 16: The controversy over the proposed import of
genetically modified (GM) corn-soya blend from the US has finally ended
with both the importing agencies - CARE-India and Catholic Relief
Services (CRS) deciding against importing the products. They have
withdrawn their petitions before the Appellate Authority constituted
under the GMO Rules.

Environment ministry sources told FE, "the matter has finally been
resolved as both CARE-India and CRS have recently withdrawn their petitions."

CARE-India officials when contacted admitted the withdrawal of petition
but refused to comment on the situation. CRS country representative,
Stephen Robert Hilbert said "we are just as concerned about the health of
the poor as the Indian government" and declined to further comment on the

CARE (Co-operation for American Relief Everywhere), an international non-
government organisation (NGO) operating in India, had in July last sought
the permission to import 15,000 tonne of GM corn-soya blend from the US
while CRS had proposed to import 8,000 tonne. As GM corn and soya are yet
to get approval the government referred the matter to the genetic
engineering approval committee (GEAC).

Meanwhile, when the first shipment of 1,000 tonne was about to arrive,
GEAC decided in November-end not to approve the consignment as the US
government or the exporting agency had failed to certify that the
consignment would not contain traces of the dangerous Starlink Corn or
any other GM materials hazardous to human health. The agencies then
appealed before the one-man Appeallate Authority headed by the former
environment secretary, Vishwanath Anand against the GEAC's order on
December-end. The Appeallate Authority had fixed the date for hearing on
February 18.

According to sources, US Senator Christopher Bond and Dr Roger N Beachy,
president of Donald Danforth Plant Science Center had met government
officials and ministers in December to convince them that the GM foods in
the US were perfectly safe.