After a nation-wide public debate in India on Bt brinjal the Government of India imposed a moratorium on this novel food crop in February 2010 (cleared by the Indian biotechnology regulator GEAC in October 2009 in a hasty, unscientific manner, with conflicting interests creeping into decision-making) heeding the voices of the general public, scientists, medical fraternity and state governments. YOU PLAYED A PART TOO, as a citizen aware of your rights and responsibilities! Otherwise, Bt brinjal would have become the first-of-its-kind untested transgenic food to have been thrust on Indians without us ever getting to know what we are eating. This would have violated our right to have safe food and right to informed choice . This public debate on Bt brinjal in particular and GM foods in general brought to fore the large opposition to GM foods in India and serious concerns about its safety.
Scientific data and reports reveal that genetically modified foods could cause irreversible damage to the environment, consumer health and Indian agriculture. Furthermore, insufficient research on the impacts, unscientific test protocols, conflicting interests at all levels of decision-making, opaque & undemocratic functioning of regulators and the lack of independent bio-safety tests conceal the full truth about the hazards of GM technology. Even in the case of Bt brinjal, fresh analyses of crop developer's biosafety data by independent scientists show that it is unsafe for human consumption. They have also established that the crop developers have masked important findings that show potential adverse impacts and the regulator too has ignored these. Meanwhile more evidence is emerging from across the world about various negative effects of GM crops.
However, some of the recent developments show that the Government of India continues to go against people’s interests and wishes on the matter of GM crops. A Bill is going to be introduced in Parliament to bring in an anti-people statutory framework (in the form of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India – BRAI). Further, GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, the apex regulatory body now) has approved (and continues to approve) dozens of open air field trials of various GM crops to be carried out in almost all states of the country without taking into cognizance our concerns and evidence of negative effects.
We as citizens have a right to safe food and environment and a right to make informed choices about something as basic as Food & Environment. This would get violated if GM foods are approved.
Make sure you and other Indians are not made into laboratory rats in this gigantic, irreversible, unsafe and unaccountable experiment with transgenic foods – Write to the Prime Minister today by clicking on this petition!