Why government has taken decision to stop the imports of the GM soybean?

Published: March 9, 2018

The Union environment ministry has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to stop imports of genetically modified (GM) soybean for food or feed because

  • Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) which is the regulatory body for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and products thereof, has not authorized or approved GM soybean or any other products derived from GM soybean seeds for import or cultivation in India.
  • Cotton is the only transgenic crop which is allowed to be cultivated in India. The environment ministry is yet to take a final call on allowing the commercial cultivation of GM mustard and it has no proposal for allowing the GM soybean in India.
  • Parliamentary committee and experts from across fields have warned against the transgenic crops.
  • The Supreme Court is looking into the issue of transgenic crops.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) functions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). It is responsible for

  • Appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
  • Appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.

GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology.

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