NEW DELHI: While introduction of GM crops in the country remain debatable, some companies have approached the government seeking permission for clearing import of GM feed for animals.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) considered proposals from four companies which wanted the approval to import GM feed from China, Brazil, Argentina, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and US.
After considering the proposal, the Member Secretary, GEAC informed that comments of the experts on the proposal are still awaited.
“GEAC also was of the view that besides the comments from experts, comments of Department of Animal Husbandry and FSSAI may be obtained regarding the export/import of GM feed. Comments from other experts may be followed-up. Decision on the proposal was deferred,” said the minutes of the meeting.
Experts are also concerned over any possibility of clearing GM feed, saying animals are part of human food chain and it could have adverse results.
The proposal was sent by M/S Suguna Foods requesting for import of GM Soybean meal for producing poultry and animal feed. The purpose of import was as an ingredient in the animal feed for self-usage for producing poultry and animal feeds.
Permission for import of processed food Dried Distillers Grains with soluble (DDGS)- Corn from US and market in India was sought by M/s Godrej Agrovet Ltd. The GEAC gave similar view that comments of the experts on the proposal are still awaited.
GEAC has been treading cautiously on the GM field trials and clearances after a controversy erupted over the committee considering approval to GM Mustard last month.
Many scientists, environmentalists and farmer associations have written to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar against it. The minster had assured that no decision will be taken without taking into account concerns of all stakeholders. A moratorium was laid on Bt Brinjal in 2010 after countrywide opposition.
RSS-backed backed outfits Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bhartiya Kissan Sangh have also opposed the commercialization of GM crops in the country. Javadekar, however, has said that there is no ban on GM crop field trials and that the government is of the view that research in GM and confined field trials for generating bio-safety data with all due precautions should be allowed to continue in national interest.