[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 
> India.
> 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
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/09/india-halts-genetically-modified-aubergine
> 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 
> review."
> 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 
> health.
> By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
> Published: 12:36PM GMT 09 Feb 2010
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/7196372/India-drops-GM-food-plans.html
> 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 
> health."
> Monsanto 'faked' data for approvals claims its ex-chief
> Dinesh C. Sharma
> India Today, 9 February 2010:
> http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story?sId=83093&secid=120&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterfeed
> 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 
> Saturday.
> 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 
> said.
> "I retired from the company as I felt the management of Monsanto, USA, 
> was exploiting our country," Jagadisan, 84, said from his home in 
> Bangalore.
> "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 
> said.
> 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
> www.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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