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Govt halts marketing of genetically modified food crop Shalini
New Delhi: With new scientific studies now finding genetically modified foods not fully safe for human consumption, the government has put a 'temporary halt' on the commercialisation of BT brinjal, the move prompted by the Supreme Court’s special representative at the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.

Dr Pushpabhargava said, "I have fears that there are vested interests. Any study that does not suit them are just dismissed."

However, Bhargavas intervention has not stopped biotech company Mahyco from going ahead with field trials showing here a clear clash of interests.

Mahyco, the company that will sell BT Brinjal is also conducting the crucial tests that will declare BT Brinjal safe.

Mahyco says, “Studies showed that there is no significant difference between conventional brinjal and BT brinjal when the products were fed to rats. There is no allergenicity or toxicity seen.”

Meanwhile, Mahyco's arguments have been rubbished by scientists at the international level.

French scientists found 'discrepancies' in their analysis - saying they were ignoring data that showed labs rats developing reproductive problems.

The Australian scientists found that the study has not been carried out for long enough to assess longterm effects.

Which leads to the question are monitoring mechanisms in place?

Minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal said, “We have a very elaborate process before we put any product genetically modified into the market.”

But despite these promises, there seems to be an unseemly haste and lack of transparency in carrying out the experiments, leading both farmers and consumers to ask what Dr Bhargava is asking... is there a vested interest?

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