Indian Supreme Court to Get Tough With GM
It has also proposed setting up a powerful regulatory system; and studies on long-term impacts of GM crops on food and environment. The proposals, which follow a Supreme Court hearing in May seem set to be accepted and acted on within months.
The 10-year moratorium is proposed whilst detailed food safety evaluations are carried out on existing GM crops.
These recommendations would mean a total ban on field trials and limiting GM research to secluded sites inside the premises of state agriculture universities, Indian Council of Agriculture Research institutes and fields of applicant firms.
The expert committee has also proposed a stronger bio-safety regulator with full-time professionals in place of the existing regulatory structure which has been discredited by allegations of conflicts of interest.
Currently, “The evaluation process has a set of procedures and steps but is short on substance and requisite rigour,” the committee said in its interim report to the Supreme Court.
It also recommended conducting preliminary bio-safety tests, including sub-chronic toxicity in small animals prior to field trials.
If implemented these proposals would place India at the forefront of GM regulatory rigour.