New Delhi, Apr 21 : Environment watchdog Greenpeace today demonstrated against the hazards of genetically engineered food here.
Greenpeace activists wore masks resembling the face of Science and Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal and distributed 'biohazard' labeled vegetables to passers by.
The environment watchdog has been campaigning for past two years against the hazards of genetically engineered food, demanding the Central Government to make public, the information on the results of trials on the safety of genetically engineered food items.
Introduction of genetically engineered food items in India has incited wrath from many quarters and several self-help groups have come out to oppose the entry of such vegetables and food grains in the country.
Rice, tomatoes, brinjal, maize, groundnut, potatoes and cabbage are some of the food items that are genetically engineered.
Upping their ante against these genetically modified crops, these activists staged the unique protest to highlight the threat allegedly posed by these crops to public health and safety, blaming the Government to be in league with the companies promoting such food crops in the country.
"We are here to mock the regulatory authorities and the policy makers of this country for introducing genetically engineered food without any safety testing. We are trying to get information for the last two years about the safety of these crops and it has been deliberately denied for the last two years, giving the reason that, it is company data and needs to be protected for company's secrets. We are here asking the Science and Technology Ministry, under which comes the DBT (Department of Biotechnology) which approves all these crops to say, why is investment of the company more important than public health and safety," said Jai Krishna, an activist.
In a landmark judgment on bio safety, the Supreme Court had issued an order directing the Union Government to publicise the results of trials on the safety of genetically engineered food items.
But, still nothing has been done so far to make these reports public.
Genetically engineered crops are subjected to laboratory tests to check for animal and human safety before they are allowed to be sold in markets.
Many countries have adopted a cautious approach on genetically engineered crops and many more have imposed moratoriums on the release of such crops.
In many instances, across the world, serious harmful effects have been found in the laboratory animals, which came to light after information on these tests was made public in these cases.