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A Supreme Court-appointed technical expert committee Monday recommended an indefinite moratorium on field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops till the time the government comes out with a proper regulatory and safety mechanism.

The expert committee in its report said there should be a moratorium on field trials for Genetically Modified food crops intended for commercialization until there is more definitive information from sufficient number of studies as to their long-term safety.

“Based on the examination of the safety dossiers, it is apparent that there are major gaps in the regulatory system. These need to be addressed before issues related to tests can be meaningfully considered. Till such time it would not be advisable to conduct more field trials,” it said.

In 2010, the then environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh imposed an indefinite moratorium on the commercial introduction of GM brinjal following several public hearings.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, in a report August 2012, asked for ban on GM food crops in the country, while industry has been calling for their introduction to ensure food security.

More than 150 scientists wrote to Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan early this year, raising concerns about GM crops.

Their primary concern was that the agriculture ministry is allegedly making a case for GM crops by stating that the technology is absolutely needed for India’s food security.

(Source: IANS)

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