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Bt Brinjal approved for commercial use by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) on 14th October gave its nod to the environmental release of Bt Brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop. With this, Bt Brinjal is expected to be commercially launched in the country despite protests from environmental groups over health issues. GEAC accepted the recommendation of a special committee, set up to study bio-safety data of Bt Brinjal. Local seed company Mahyco is developing the food crop with technology assistance from US-based multinational Monsanto. Monsanto had given the technology free to Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and the University of Agricultural Science, Dharward for commercial use after due regulatory approval. Mahyco had claimed that Bt Brijnal, which is resistant to pest and also entails far lesser use of pesticides, would be available to small farmers through public agencies. GEAC has now referred the matter to environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh for further decision. While a GEAC official declined to comment, Ramesh later told reporters “I understand that GEAC has given approval for the environmental release of the Bt brinjal and, I will study the panel’s report before deciding whether it should be given clearance or not”. He, however, did not specify any timeframe when the decision would be taken by the government.