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No scientific evidence to prove GM crops harmful, govt says

The Times of India, New Delhi,  4th December, 2014


NEW DELHI: There is no scientific evidence to prove that genetically-modified crops would harm soil, human health and environment, the government said on Thursday.


Environment minister Prakash Javadekar's response came to queries in Rajya Sabha over the recent controversial decision of biotech regulator — the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee's (GEAC) — granting approval for experimental field trials of 12 GM crops for the purpose of generating biosafety data.


The 12 crops ready for field trials include cotton, rice, castor, wheat, maize, groundnut, potato, sorghum, brinjal, mustard, sugarcane and chickpea.


Javadekar said GM crops particularly GM corn, canola, soybean and cotton are being cultivated and consumed by human beings as well as animals in many countries the world over as food, feed and processed products.


"There is no scientific evidence to prove that GM crops would harm soil, human health and environment," the minister said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.


"GM crops have beneficial traits such as insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, stress tolerance, fungal resistance, disease resistance, salt tolerance, drought tolerance, enhance yield and nutrition etc, that may help in food security," Javadekar said.