Release biosafety data on GM mustard, says CIC

Release biosafety data on GM mustard, says CIC

Release biosafety data on GM mustard, says CIC

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Union Environment Ministry to release the biosafety data on the trials of genetically modified mustard in the public domain after screening out the confidential information.

In addition, the CIC directed the ministry that all biosafety data pertaining to other genetically modified organisms in the pipeline also be published before April 30, 2016, as this is part of voluntary disclosure under the RTI Act.

“The Commission directs the public authority to verify and provide the biosafety dossier as submitted by the crop developer in 2014 and 2015 and any other material under review after separating the confidential information,” CIC said in its April 1 order.

The information was sought by the activists opposing entry of GM crops after they raised questions on the yield of GM mustard and the secretive nature of field trials. The developers from Delhi University brushed aside those allegations.

“The people should know how and why GM mustard is being permitted or denied because they have to consume that food or feed and face consequences. It is a policy decision by the public authority, which needs to be revealed to the public in general as mandated by Section 4 (of the RTI Act) because they are going to be affected if GM mustard is marked,” said the order.

The genetically engineered mustard was under the consideration of the biotechnology regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for commercial cultivation, when environment minister Prakash Javadekar held it back presumably for wider public consultation. A GEAC meeting scheduled on April 11 has now been postponed. 

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