October 8, 2007


India to strictly monitor GM soyoil imports



The government of India has asked the soy industry to strictly monitor inflow of genetically-modified (GM) edible oil after allowing import of GM soy oil without the need to get case-to-case approval by the Environment Ministry.


The Commerce Ministry has directed the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) to compile the monthly data of the GM soy oil imports.


However, SEA may find it difficult to meet the obligation in the absence of executive powers.


According to SEA Executive Director B V Mehta, it would be difficult to compile the data about those importers who are not members of the association.


Most of the soy oils coming from Argentina or Brazil are genetically modified. In the past, every shipment had to get clearances of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), under the Environment Ministry.


In August, the Environment Ministry had allowed import of GM soyoil without approval of this committee as the oil does not have living modified organisms (LMO). The ministry, in fact, exempted all imported processed food articles from seeking GEAC approval if they do not contain LMOs.


India's edible oil import has reached 38 lakh tonnes during November-August of 2006-07 oil year. Of this, soy oil (both crude and refined) accounted for 10.55 lakh tonnes. Oil year runs from November to October.

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