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India rejects US food consignment

Sify News
New Delhi, March 6

India on Thursday denied permission for the second time to a United States food consignment, suspecting that it might contain genetically-modified corn.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the apex technical body for allowing Genetic Modified Organisms in the country, stuck to its earlier decision to disallow the import of the US food aid by two Non-Government Organisations -- CARE and CRS.

Both the NGOs had petitioned the GEAC to allow the import of 23,000 tonnes of Corn Soya Blend (CSB) to feed malnutritioned population in India.

Earlier in September last India disallowed the food consignment from the USA for the first time.

Most of the corn and soyabean grown in USA are known to be genetically-engineered crops, and 'starlink' variety of corn particularly is said to be causing allergic problems.

Rejecting the requests of the NGOs for import of the food consignment donated by a US agency under its food aid programme, the GEAC took note of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) observations which cautioned against susceptibility of vulnerable populations to the long-term exposure to CSB containing GM Corns.

The country also lacked a mechanism for post- aid disbursement surveillance, it observed.

The GEAC also noted reports of sending such shipments to Japan containing GM corns.

Other considerations of GEAC for rejection included procedure for approval of GM crops in the US.

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