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POLICY & REGULATION: Genetically modified food, a hot potato for the Indian Government






------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD, A HOT POTATO FOR THE GOVT

SOURCE: CNN-IBN, India

AUTHOR: Shalini

URL:    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/genetically-modified-food-a-hot-potato-for-the-govt/80375-11.html

DATE:   12.12.2008

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD, A HOT POTATO FOR THE GOVT

New Delhi: After imposing a ban on smoking in public, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss is working towards banning genetically modified (GM) seeds.

He says his ministry will oppose the entry of GM seeds into the country. The move comes after months of protests by activists, farmers and consumers across India.

?As the Union Health Minister, I will continue opposing it. BT Brinjal is being brought into the country without proper research on its safety. We should oppose it collectively,? Ramadoss says.

The minister?s remarks come at a time when BT Brinjal ? the first GM vegetable ? is on the verge of getting approval for commercial release.

Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, however, is well known for his advocacy of GM food.

?Of course the Government is pro-GM otherwise the GM technology would not be there. We already have GM cotton and there are many other products that are in the pipeline and will be in the market,? Sibal says.

Inadequate research and lack of independent monitoring of the impact of GM food, more specifically BT Brinjal, will certainly give fodder for confrontation.

There have been reports of several deaths across the world following allergic reaction to GM food.

?Latest Austrian study released three weeks ago shows that the mice become infertile after being introduced to GM foods,? Kavitha Kuruganti, a Green Peace activist, says.

What is worrying activists and farmers is the hurry with which the Government seems to be embracing GM technology, when around 180 countries in the world do not allow it.


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