India: No to GMO

India: No to GMO

12 September, 2011
Unsafe eggplants?
Genetically modified vegetable needs more testing

Although India approved the commercialized sale of genetically modified eggplant in October of 2009, it reversed its decision recently.
The reversal was announced by India’s Environmental Minister, Jairam Ramesh, who insisted that more independent research needs to be conducted in order to establish that hybrid eggplants are safe for human consumption.
The decision has caused quite a stir between advocates of genetically modified foods who claim that the eggplant seeds are the only way to meet the world's growing food demand, and the numerous detractors including state officials, farmers, independent scientists and non-governmental groups who remain sceptical of their safety, and are concerned about negative effects on biodiversity and on the livelihood of smaller farmers. Studies have shown that loss of fertility, organ failure, and lowered immunity has been shown to be correlated with GM food, according to Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya, a network of seed banks and organic producers across 16 states in India.

The genetically modified eggplant seeds in question were developed by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd using a pest-resistance gene called Bt. Bt maize, used for animal feed, is grown in 17 countries. China also recently approved a strain of Bt rice for human consumption. India now waits to determine whether the controversial seed will indeed enter the market.

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By: Ecozine Staff


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