New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has clarified that the sub-committee drawn up by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has experts in subjects relevant to the safety evaluation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. In a clarification issued yesterday, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) said,
The GEAC in its 126th meeting held on 04.01.2016, constituted a sub-committee with expert scientists in specific subjects relevant to (the) safety evaluation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. The sub-committee also consists of a health expert, Dr B Sesikeran, who is an MD in pathology and former director, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and is currently serving as chairman, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM).
The assessment of food and environmental safety (AFES) for environmental release of GE mustard (Brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11 — made by a group of Delhi University professors and not a foreign organisation — and use of parental events (Varuna bn3.6 and EH2 modbs2.99) for development of new generation hybrids, the ministry release said, was placed on the website on 5 September for comments by stakeholders and general public for a period of 30 days.
The full biosafety dossier is available also at the GEAC Secretariat at MoEF&CC, V-232, 2nd Floor, Vayu Block, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jorbagh Road, New Delhi-110003.
The clarification comes in the backdrop of comments in a section of the media that alleged that the sub-committee constituted by GEAC for review of the Biosafety Dossier submitted by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) for the approval of environmental release of mustard hybrid DMH-11 and use of parental events for the development of new-generation hybrids had “no health expert”.
Graphic by Alec Reynolds