10 Feb 2010

India halts GM crop

6:09 am on 10 February 2010

India has halted the cultivation of what would have been its first genetically modified vegetable crop, known as BT brinjal.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh says more studies are needed to ensure genetically modified aubergines are safe for consumption.

The GM vegetable has undergone field trials since 2008 and received approval from Indian government scientists in 2009.

The BBC reports India is the largest producer of aubergines in the world and grows more than 4000 varieties.

The seed company Mahyco which developed BT brinjal, says the GM vegetable is more resistant to natural pests. Mahyco is a partner of the Monsanto corporation.

India allowed the use of genetically modified seeds for cotton in 2002.