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Crop Biotech Update

Petition Calls for Indian Government to Approve GM Mustard

May 24, 2017

A petition calling on the Indian government to approve the commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) mustard has been created. The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) in New Delhi, India started the petition that calls for the Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MOEF&CC), Dr. Harsh Vardhan, to approve GM mustard and allow Indian farmers to plant it.

A week ago, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India's GM crop regulator, has recommended the commercial use of GM mustard in a submission to the environment ministry. The environment ministry received over 750 comments from various stakeholders, including students, farmers, and researchers on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on GM Mustard, which it had earlier posted on the ministry website. The report contains results of thorough assessment of the biosafety data in comparison with international assessment made by well-known regulatory agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Australia's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), and Canadian regulatory authorities, and existing peer-reviewed scientific literature on the subject. The report also addressed the specific uses of mustard in India and concluded that GM mustard was safe and nutritious for consumption.

The petition is available at Change.org. For more information on GM mustard and edible oil economy in India, visit SABC, where English, as well as Hindi translated materials are available.