Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Which of this is not a political issue?

* GreenPeace fought a 30-month RTI battle to make the Bt Brinjal dossier public

* Bt Brinjal was cleared by the GEAC based purely on data and samples provided by Mahyco and the institutions it used for testing. No independent testing was conducted and the authenticity of the samples was not ascertained

* 11 OF 16 people who oversaw Bt brinjal’s clearance had either been professionally involved with Mahyco or had serious conflicts of interest

* In a detailed note, Dr PM Bhargava, one of India’s most eminent microbiologists and a Supreme Court-appointed observer to the GEAC, raised 29 flags on the bio-safety dossier produced by Mahyco and cleared by the GEAC. Among his many disturbing observations, it turned out that in some tests the control sample itself was false.

* A former MD of Monsanto India says the company routinely got clearances for its herbicides based on the company’s own data. That tells a lot about how secure India’s regulatory mechanisms are

* Overuse of pesticides is cited as a reason for ushering in Bt brinjal. Yet, it appears a simple home-made neem emulsion can get rid of its worst pest, the fruit and shoot borer

* As the 8th largest seed market in the world, India has a $ 1 billion per year seed industry, currently occupied by the unorganised and public sector — waiting to be corporatised.

* Bt Brinjal will be one of the first geneticallymodified food crops in the world to be directly ingested, instead of being processed or fed to cattle. Is that reason enough to worry?

* Is it too much to ask that when a food like Bt brinjal is introduced, the regulatory mechanism has to be above suspicion?

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