Bt brinjal becomes first GM food crop to gain regulatory approval

The Indian biotechnology regulator gave environmental clearance to Bt brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop to be allowed in the country  for mass cultivation.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the union environment ministry yesterday approved the controversial genetically modified food crop, which now awaits government clearance.

If approved by the government, Bt brinjal would become the second crop to be commercially cultivated in the country after Bt Cotton, which was approved in 2002.

Talking to reporters minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh said that the review committee has submitted its recommendations, which would be carefully studied before a final decision was taken by his ministry.

Greenpeace India and other environmental groups had been campaigning against the commercial sale of genetically modified food and questioned the bio-safety of such products.

The groups had warned the government in taking a hasty decision and said that there was need for extensive testing. It also said that there was no need of a genetically modified brinjal since India has a large variety of the indigenously developed vegetable.