UPDATE 2-GM mustard clears hurdle in India but more remain

Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:27am EDT
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* Would be India's first genetically modified food crop

* Technical clearance given to GM mustard on Aug. 11

* Final decision needed by minister; opposition likely (Adds environment ministry comment in paragraph 5)

By Mayank Bhardwaj and Krishna N. Das

NEW DELHI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - A government panel has cleared commercial use of what would be India's first genetically modified (GM) food crop, but politicians still have to give final approvals amid wide-spread public opposition.

Technical clearance for indigenously developed GM mustard seeds was given on Aug. 11 by the panel of government and independent experts, following multiple reviews of crop trial data generated over almost a decade, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The decision to go ahead is likely to be made public soon by the environment ministry's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, and is expected eventually to move to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's desk via Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.

Dave could not immediately be reached for comment.

The environment ministry said in a statement late on Thursday that no final decision has been taken yet and that its Genetic Engineering Approval Committee will put up a "safety document" on the issue on its website seeking comments from the public.   Continued...