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Rediff.com  » Business » Govt moving cautiously over GM mustard

Govt moving cautiously over GM mustard

December 06, 2002 16:48 IST

The government on Friday said it is taking a 'hard look' at the proposed introduction of genetically modified mustard and such food crops in the country and trials are going on for the purpose.

"Last year nod was given for GM cotton. But the case of mustard is different: its oil and cake are consumed by humans and animals. Health impact of genetic changes will have to be looked into," Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh said.

Inaugurating an international conference and exhibition on lipids, fats and edible oils, he said tests are going on and a policy is to be made in the area of GM crops which are consumed by humans and animals.

He said there cannot be a blanket ban on GM crops, it is a frontier science, the largest impact of biotechnology will be felt on agriculture.

But whether these crops including GM soyabean oil do or do not harm human health has not been conclusively proved, he said adding mustard and soyabean are first cases of GM foods before the government and their impact either way on health, science, agriculture is being studied.

European Union as a block is against GM foods, African countries despite famines are not allowing imports of these crops even free of cost.

India is studying the issue just as other countries are doing and for clearance, people will have to accept it in general, he added.

Last month, the government had put on hold clearance to GM mustard seeds saying that the issued needed further study and trials.