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India to consider U.S. groups' plea on biotech corn, soy blend

(Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Reuters via Agnet: NEW DELHI -- Officials were cited as saying on Tuesday that India will consider an appeal by aid groups to allow a planned shipment of soy blended with corn which had been rejected because it was unclear if it had been genetically modified.

The story says that India's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee in November turned down an application by U.S.-based aid groups CARE and the Catholic Relief Society (CRS) to import the shipment to make food for impoverished school children.

Officials from the Environment Ministry, which oversees the committee, said the consignment was not approved because it lacked proper certification. "Our contention is they should certify that it does not contain StarLink or any other genetically-modified and harmful variety," a senior ministry official told Reuters.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in New Delhi was cited as saying the soy-corn blend was safe for human consumption and contained no Starlink DNA, adding, "There is no rejection, they have deferred approval and it is going to the appellate authority and we believe it will make a favourable determination. We are encouraged that the... (committee) has agreed to review the issue of importation of corn-soybean blend for food aid deliveries, especially since it has been proven to be safe for human consumption."

The ministry official said CARE and CRS appeal would be considered on January 28.