Commercialisation of 30 GM cotton, corn varieties against rules

STAFF REPORT ISB: The federal government has approved over 30 varieties of genetically modified (GM) cotton and corn/maize seeds for commercialisation and field test purposes, which is in violation of the rules and quality standards.

The approved varieties of Bt cotton seeds contain such low levels of poison that not only do not kill pests that destroy crop production but also build resistance in worms, impacting biodiversity and human health.

Laboratory test results show that the approved GM cotton and corn/maize seeds contained low toxin between 0.3 and 0.7 microgram/gram against the international standards of 1.8 microgram/gram set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Documents also revealed how in 2010 genetically modified Bt cotton seed varieties were approved which were substandard and had low genetically modified toxin to kill pests.

“In March 2014, the GM cotton varieties with even lower Bt toxin were approved overlooking the minimum standards through the National Bio-safety Committee (NBC), Climate Change Division, which does not have the jurisdiction outside the federal capital,” said an expert in the field of GM organisms at the PARC.

When contacted, Secretary Climate Change Division Raja Hasan Abbas said the NBC, Climate Change Division, had approved the GM crops after consultation with the law ministry.

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