The Indian government has put a hold, pending further study, on approving genetically modified eggplants. Government scientists approved the new crop last year, but this new move from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh comes in response to public concerns, according to the BBC:
The minister said "independent scientific studies" were needed to establish "the safety of the product from the point of view of its long-term impact on human health and environment".
Mr Ramesh said it was "a difficult decision to make" since he had to "balance science and society".
"The decision is responsible to science and responsive to society," he said.
This is the kind of thing that makes Denialism author and New Yorker writer Michael Specter crazy, but I never understood why he was so on the GM foods bandwagon. The problem of world hunger isn't necessarily going to be solved by growing more foods more efficiently than we already do, because those foods still aren't going to find their way to the world's poorest.
There are also plenty of products we thought of as safe raising concerns. While I understand the frustration over fears -- like those over vaccines -- that continue to be held long after they're proven irrational, holding a new crop up for further study seems like the kind of caution that could only help.
-- Monica Potts