[permaculture] Fw: [cban e-News] Victory: GM eggplant halted in India - allegationsthat Monsanto "faked" data
fdnokes at hotmail.com
fdnokes at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 10 14:27:32 EST 2010
apologies for cross posting.
enjoy the news.
From: "Lucy Sharratt - CBAN Coordinator" <coordinator at cban.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 5:26 AM
To: <cban-e-news at cban.ca>
Subject: [cban e-News] Victory: GM eggplant halted in India -
allegationsthat Monsanto "faked" data
> After widespread resistance from activists, environmentalists, NGOs,
> state governments and certain political parties, the Government of India
> has placed a temporary moratorium on the commercialization of Monsanto's
> bt brinjal (eggplant) until further health studies are done - what was
> meant to be the first commercialized GM vegetable in the world! (there is
> GM squash grown in the US but on a really small scale)
> This decision comes despite a visit by Nina Federoff, advisor on Science
> and Technology to Hillary Clinton, who went to India to try and influence
> the government's decision. The GM eggplant was a huge media and political
> issue in India.
> "This is a great victory for every one of us. Also for the unknowns who
> supported across the sea. This is a victory for the people of third world
> countries who are always subjected for subjugation for corporate profits.
> There are hundreds and thousands of unknown faces in this fight. Every
> one of them has contributed in this momentous victory. But this is not
> the end. Our togetherness should continue until we win back our
> agriculture, food from the clutches of the corporates." - R. Selvam,
> Pudhu Nilavu Organic farm, Thalavumalai, Arachaloor, Erode District,
> Tamil Nadu
> The eggplant (brinjal) was engineered to be insect resistant - expressing
> Bt toxins to kill pests and would have been the first Bt vegetable since
> Monsanto's Bt potato was approved in Canada and the US - the GM potato
> barely made it to stores and is no longer on the market due to consumer
> resistance in Canada and across the world.
> GM eggplant approval would have paved the way for GM rice approvals in
> Bangladesh and the Philippines were also waiting to hear what India
> decided before they made their own decision on GM eggplant.
> We will see if Monsanto will still pursue their application in India or,
> as they did in the EU with a GM high lysine corn already approved in
> Canada, they will withdraw it so new safety studies are not done.
> Please find below some of the news stories. Best regards, Lucy Sharratt,
> Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network www.cban.ca
> India halts release of GM aubergine
> guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 February 2010 18.55 GMT
> Environment minister imposes six-month moratorium on launch to allow for
> further research
> The Indian minister for the environment today imposed a six-month
> moratorium on the launch of a genetically modified variety of aubergine,
> known locally as brinjal, saying that further scientific research was
> needed before permission could be given for its commercial cultivation.
> Jairam Ramesh said he had taken note of "tremendous opposition" from
> state governments within India, broad public resistance and the lack of a
> scientific consensus. "This would be the first GM vegetable crop anywhere
> in the world so I have been very sensitive and I have arrived at this
> decision which is responsible to science and responsible to society," he
> said tonight.
> The decision was welcomed by campaigners. "It is an excellent precedent,"
> said the Environment Support Group. "No minister before has ever
> subjected such an important decision to such public and scientific
> Opponents had argued that the mass cultivation of the new variety – known
> as Bt Brinjal after the initials of the bacterium inserted into the plant
> to boost its resistance to insects – would damage the 2,000 or more
> existing types of aubergine grown in India. Many also raised concerns
> about potential human health hazards.
> The involvement of the American multinational Monsanto – which part- owns
> the Indian company that developed the new strain – also stoked the
> argument over the potential costs and benefits of the new aubergine, with
> an alliance of left and rightwing politicians arguing that Indian
> sovereignty was under threat. Activists today hailed the decision as a
> "victory over American imperialism".
> The Indian government found itself in a delicate position after a
> government panel last year supported the introduction of Bt Brinjal, even
> though most of the major states in which the 8m-tonne annual aubergine
> crop in India is grown had said that they would not permit it. The
> six-month delay for further research is a useful way for Ramesh, a rising
> reformist minister who played a crucial role in brokering a political
> accord at the Copenhagen conference on global warming, to sidestep a
> difficult political battle and to avoid a public row with other ministers
> who support the launch of Bt Brinjal.
> Lobbyists for GM foods were disappointed. "It is unfortunate that India's
> 1.4 million farmers will not yet be able to enjoy the benefits of biotech
> brinjal," said Denise Dewar of Croplife, the global industry association
> for plant biotechnology, which includes Monsanto among its members. "As a
> staple crop, biotech brinjal could also benefit millions of Indian
> consumers, who would have improved product quality and greater choice in
> the marketplace."
> India allowed the use of genetically modified seeds for cotton in 2002
> after trials found it needed 70% less pesticide and gave 87% more crop
> than traditional plants. It is now grown in 39% of India's cotton area.
> India drops GM food plans
> India has dropped plans to release the country's first genetically
> modified food crop because of fears over the long-term effects on human
> By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
> Published: 12:36PM GMT 09 Feb 2010
> The environment minister had been expected to announce the go-ahead for
> GM aubergine, known in India as Bt brinjal, after a government committee
> of scientific experts announced its backing.
> Since then farmers have led a national campaign against the proposal,
> citing concerns over the effects of long-term human consumption and the
> impact on farmers who would have to buy the seeds from an Indian partner
> of the American biotech giant Monsanto. They claim it would leave farmers
> poorer and lead to more suicides.
> The new variety was created to minimise crop destruction by insects and
> reduce pesticide use. It contains a toxic protein which kills fruit and
> shoot borers, which is destroyed during cooking and in the human gut.
> Its approval would have paved the way for more than 50 other
> genetically-modified crops currently being developed.
> Indian Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said more
> independent studies on the impact on human health were needed before it
> could be commercially released.
> "There is no overriding urgency to introduce it ... When the public
> sentiments have been negative, it is my duty to adopt a cautious,
> precautionary and principle-based approach," he said.
> "I will not impose a decision till such time independent scientific
> studies establish safety of the product from long-term view of human
> Monsanto 'faked' data for approvals claims its ex-chief
> Dinesh C. Sharma
> India Today, 9 February 2010:
> NEW DELHI: The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal [aubergine]
> variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto
> India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt
> brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so.
> Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including
> eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against
> the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on
> On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company "used to fake scientific
> data" submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial
> approvals for its products in India.
> The former Monsanto boss said government regulatory agencies with which
> the company used to deal with in the 1980s simply depended on data
> supplied by the company while giving approvals to herbicides.
> "The Central Insecticide Board was supposed to give these approvals based
> on the location and crop-specific data from India. But it simply accepted
> foreign data supplied by Monsanto. They did not even have a test tube to
> validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked," Jagadisan
> "I retired from the company as I felt the management of Monsanto, USA,
> was exploiting our country," Jagadisan, 84, said from his home in
> "At that time, Monsanto was getting into the seed business and I had
> information that a 'terminator gene' was to be incorporated in the seeds
> being supplied by the firm. This meant that the farmer had to buy fresh
> seeds from Monsanto at heavy cost every time he planted the crop," he
> Jagadisan said the parent company also retracted from the assurance given
> to then minister for chemicals and fertilisers, Vasant Sathe, on setting
> up a manufacturing unit in collaboration with Hindustan Insecticides for
> the herbicide butachlor.
> "The negotiations went on for over a year and in the meantime, Monsanto
> imported and sold large quantities of the product and made huge profits,"
> he said.
> Asked to comment on Jagadisan's allegations, a Monsanto spokesperson
> said: "We have full faith in the Indian regulatory system, which has its
> checks and measures in place to ensure accuracy and authenticity of data
> furnished to them." On approval of GM crops, the spokesperson said the
> regulatory process was stringent and "no biotech crops are allowed in the
> market until they undergo extensive and rigid crop safety assessments,
> following strict scientific protocols".
> Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
> Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
> Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
> 431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
> Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
> Fax: 613 241 2506
> coordinator at cban.ca
> Join the Global Rejection of GE Wheat! www.cban.ca/GEwheat
> Donate today to support the campaign www.cban.ca/donate
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