The Ministry of Environment has clarified that the Sub-Committee of Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has experts in subjects relevant to safety evaluation of genetically modified (GM) crops. In a clarification, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) said, “The GEAC in its 126th Meeting held on 04.01.2016, constituted a Sub-Committee with expert scientists in specific subjects relevant to safety evaluation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. The Sub-Committee also consists of a health expert, Dr. B. Sesikeran, who is an MD in pathology and former Director, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is currently serving as chairman, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM).
The Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) for environmental release of GM Mustard (Brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11 and use of parental events (Varuna bn3.6 and EH2 modbs2.99) for development of new generation hybrids has been placed on the website on 05.09.2016 for comments by stakeholders and general public for a period of 30 days. The full biosafety dossier is also available in the GEAC secretariat at MoEF&CC.
The clarification has come in the backdrop of the allegations of anti-GM crop activists, alleging that the Sub-Committee constituted by GEAC for review of Biosafety Dossier submitted by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) of Delhi University for the approval of environmental release of Genetically Engineered (GE) Mustard and use of parental events (Varuna bn 3.6 and EH-2 modbs 2.99) for the development of new generation hybrids, has “No Health Expert.”