India bans planting of first GM crop food

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‘…till such time as independent scientific studies establish to the satisfaction of both the public and professionals the safety of the product from the point of view of its long term impact on human health and environment, including the rich genetic wealth existing in brinjal in our country.’

Biodiversity threat

Bt Brinjal would have been the first GM food crop approved for release in India, which has allowed the use of GM seeds for cotton production since 2002.

But campaigners said the possibility of cross-contamination would have threatened the 2,000 or more traditional varieties of aubergine currently grown in India.

‘India is the origin of the brinjal family of plants, so containing the GM trait once the GM brinjal is released could prove impossible,’ said GM Freeze campaigner Peter Riley.

‘There are also doubts about how effective the insect resistance would be in the long term,’ he added.

Friends of the Earth’s food campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said the GM crop would benefit ‘big business and not local farmers or hungry people’.

Useful links

Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company

9th February, 2010

Ecologist

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