“It will not be lifted in months that is what I can assure on BT brinjal moratorium,” said Environment and Forest minister Jairam Ramesh, in an interaction with HT editors on Saturday.
Ramesh, after clamping an indefinite freeze on commercial use of BT brinjal till independent safety tests were done, said, “I cannot give a deadline. I took a decision…I may be wrong. The basis of my decision is available on (environment) ministry’s website.”
One of the reasons for putting a moratorium on the specific variety of BT brinjal was that of the “30 safety tests, only eight were conducted,” the minister said. “Some chronic toxicity tests were not done.”
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, country’s food biotechnology regulator, will soon get independent studies done to evaluate the safety.
While the new tests will tell you about safety of Bt brinjal, Ramesh said, labelling of GM food crops in India would remain a problem issue. “We don’t buy vegetables from a supermarket…Distinguishing between BT and non-BT brinjal will remain a problem.”