Signatory to biosafety

Published: Thursday 15 March 2001

india has signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which is the only international framework that regulates trade in genetically modified (gm) products. The protocol allows countries to ban the import of gm seeds, microbes, animals and crops that they believe is harmful to their environment. The pact also stipulates that all gm food must bear the label 'may contain' before they are shipped to other countries.

But the protocol has several drawbacks. It does not overrule any other international agreements, exempts any gm organisms used in the pharmaceutical industry and it does not deal with the health impacts of gm foods. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the protocol on January 29, 2000. At least 86 countries have signed the protocol till now.

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