27 October 2009

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India And Genetically modified (GM) Food - Bt Brinjal

India And Genetically modified (GM) Food -

In India Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, ministry of environment & forests
[GEAC] approves the genetically modified (GM) Food. The GEAC was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to regulate research, testing and commercial release of genetically modified crops, foods and organisms.

The Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. Ltd Mahyco is one of the largest and most trusted
Seed companies in India. In 1998, after 8 years of negotiation, Monsanto became
A 50% shareholder in the company and received approval to conduct
Countrywide field trials.

The data compiled was never made public.
Genetically modified (GM) food research in India is not being made to evaluate potential harm to human health and environment.

A major factor in agriculture is the availability of water. Bt cotton consumes much more water than non­Bt hybrids do.
Currently future of Indian farming is black and very dangerous which will never allow the Indian rupee to be equal to dollar, pound, or euro. Today we purchase the arms from developed nations; tomorrow we will be purchasing 100% seeds from the developed world.
Today also, we Indians are behaving like Jungle tribes in the era of science.
As the world wakes up to human health and environment nuisance from the
a genetically modified (GM) crop, India is fast turning into a dustbin for the new technology.
These companies will use us Indians like a lab rats. We are becoming human rats because of our laws and policy makers.
It took a 30-month long legal battle to bring out the bio-safety studies submitted by Mahyco to GEAC for the approval of its Bt Brinjal. Regarding this the Right to Information act helped lot.
14th October 2009:
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) today considered the approval of Bt Brinjal at their 97th meeting. Internal sources say that GEAC approved the environmental release of Bt Brinjal although there were three voices of dissent within the committee, including that of Supreme Court observer and noted molecular biologist Dr P.M Bhargava. It is further believed that committee’s recommendations have been sent for the final government approval for commercial release. If approved it will be the first genetically modified food crop to be approved in India and the first genetically modified vegetable to be approved for commercial cultivation anywhere in the world.
GM corn and GM Soya are mainly used to feed cattle in North America or go into processed foods.
Despite the concern, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (the GEAC) has given a go ahead for the environmental release of Bt Brinjal.
If this goes through, Bt Brinjal would become the first edible GM product in the country, and the first GM vegetable anywhere in the world.
This will also open the floodgates for the 56 other crops, which are undergoing various stages of trial across the nation.
On which Foods and Crops In India GM experiments are going on?
Besides cotton, genetic engineering experiments are being conducted on maize,
mustard, sugarcane, sorghum, pigeonpea, chickpea, rice, tomato, brinjal, potato,
banana, papaya, cauliflower, oilseeds, castor, soybean and medicinal plants.
Experiments are also underway on several species of fish.
What is Bt brinjal?
'brinjal', also called as ‘eggplant’ or 'aubergine',
BT brinjal is a transgenic variety of brinjal, which contains a gene (Cry 1Ac), artificially introduced into its genome, and mainly from a soil bacterium called bacillus thuringienesis (Bt). This is said to give the brinjal plant resistance against insects like the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and Fruit Borer (Helicoverpa armigera).
Who is developing Bt brinjal, and why?
Bt Brinjal is being developed in India by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), a subsidiary of the multinational Monsanto. Although they claim that genetically modifying crops will increase yield, this has not been proved in the history of GM crops, for any crop anywhere in the world.
By controlling the seeds, multinationals are slowly and systematically taking over the entire food system, multinationals gain to profit at the cost of both farmers and consumers alike.
Will Bt brinjal benefit farmers or consumers?
Bt brinjal has been developed to provide resistance to only one pest. It does not provide resistance to other pests, which will continue to attack the plant. Moreover, over time, even Shoot Borer will develop resistance to this variety of genetically modified brinjal, and will need to be replaced with a different variety of modified brinjal. Bt cotton is case in point. In addition, pollination will ensure that all indigenous varieties of the species will eventually be wiped out, thereby completely wiping out biodiversity, which is so crucial for the survival of any species.
How can you differentiate between Bt brinjal and non-Bt varieties of brinjal?
Bt brinjal does not look any different from non-Bt varieties. They cannot be differentiated just by looking at them. In fact, the only way to tell them apart is elaborate and expensive laboratory tests. This leaves consumers with no choice in the matter.
What is the status of Bt Brinjal?
Mahyco, a biotech company has been field testing Bt Brinjal though there is almost no consumer awareness on GM food and its impact on health. Although it has completed field trials, scientists, consumers, farmers… almost all stakeholders are concerned that no adequate tests have been done to prove it bio-safe i.e. safe for consumption or release into the environment

"There is little doubt that the brinjal originated in India and that its many varieties have been eaten in India for centuries, fried, steamed, roasted or curried," said Chitra Devi, a scientist at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR)

"The brinjal is a traditional crop in India, and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety has provisions that discourage genetic modification of crops in their land of origin," said Sharma. The protocol is a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty adopted in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 to protect biodiversity, ensure sustainable use and equitable sharing of the world's genetic resources.


Genetically modified foods is the necessity of future, we cannot stop the development or ban them. GM has huge potential for humankind in medicine, agriculture and food.
What we need is 

1. Total Transparency on the research of Genetically modified (GM) food

2. Creation of Global Organization, which will monitor all over the world all research made on the GM foods. This organization will allow or disallow, certify the Genetically modified (GM) food.

3. Law should be made allowing independent research and publications on Genetically modified (GM) food.

4. GM foods should go through the same strict procedure, which is used when new medicine is made or developed by medicine companies.

5. GM food should be sold with the label of GM food, so a consumer will know and can decide what they want to eat. Traditional Food or GM food.

6. The control on the price of GM food and seeds.

7. Expiry of patent rights after certain years A law should be introduced. Allowing farmers to use the GM seeds without paying license fees. Otherwise, farmers will end up forever giving the license fees and many types of charges to some companies who hold the patent rights.

8. GM foods are new; there has not been any long-term testing to see if they are dangerous to humans. Therefore, for this the families in the beginning who will use the Genetically modified (GM) foods should be given the money as they will be offering their bodies for Genetically modified (GM) foods

It is said that GM food will solve the problem of hunger but reality is that food is available but the poor people do not have money to buy it. A family who can not buy a third class quality rice to eat how that family will buy the GM rice or foods which will not be given free of cost. Real problem is not food, real problem is corruption, and distribution and we have to stop the waste of food.
Recently I came to read on the one website it claimed that every year in India Ten Lakh people die because of Hunger.

However, we cannot stop the development and progress of the science in any field.
For our future generations we have to be ready today food is available tomorrow food may or may not be available, so it is better to work towards the technology and science. Without taking risks, we humans will not make progress

However, we are not ready to become human lab rats in ignorance, come out with truth and you will find the families who will accept these challenges of new technology and like medicine as you find the people for testing you will find the families who will offer there bodies for food testing.

Suggested Reading –

Know about Genetically modified (GM) food- GE food or BT food

Know about the Terminator Gene

Reality views by sm -
Tags - GM Food India


RNSANE October 28, 2009  

This is such a thought provoking article and, of course, use of any such products should follow extensive study on their safety and the possibility of harm to humanity. Otherwise, the rationale for their use defeats the reason for their development.

deeps October 29, 2009  

i m just wondering what you do!!!!

you write with such power..!!

Admin October 29, 2009  

This is an excellent post from your side. Very detailed, useful and informative. Well, I am not sure if we are going on the right track but yes the time has come when we need to make use of this genetic technology in the best way possible to get rid of the problems faced with food production. Yes, we have to both think and act before its too late.

sm,  October 29, 2009  


sm,  October 29, 2009  


sm,  October 29, 2009  

yes you are right, the time has come to think and act.

Half Indian October 30, 2009  

Great thought indeed.

sm,  October 30, 2009  

Half Indian,

Apanatva October 30, 2009  

thanks a million . Very informative post .

sm,  October 31, 2009  


AS... October 31, 2009  

very informative!

anupama,  November 29, 2009  

like the article