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Feb 13, 2010

WSJ Op-Ed: India's Resurrects Frankenfood Debate Over Bt Brinjal (GM Eggplant)

The Wall Street Journal published a piece in its Asia Opinion section that reviews India's decision to place a moratorium on BT brinjal, gene-modified (GM) eggplant. 

The article is clearly in favor of the release of BT brinjal and questions what it would take to gain Environment and Forestry Minister Jairam Ramesh's approval.  It noted that Ramesh has statef the need for a broader consensus and public support for BT brinjal.  This is needed for India to "harness the full potential of GM technology in agriculture in a safe and sustainable manner."

BT brinjal was developed by Mahyco, an Indian company which is partially owned by Monsanto.  BT brinjal has undergone testing for a decade and has been approved by India's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), which is currently responsible for India's biosafety.  GEAC's scientists approved BT brinjal based on tests demonstrating that it is non-toxic and non-allergenic to humans and the environment.  Its pest-resistance qualities should help reduce use of toxic pesticides.

This article questions why Minister Ramesh "resurrected a decade-old Frankenfood scare over [gene-enengineered] foods."  He suggests that at the heart of the issue is Monsanto's investment in Mahyco and India's general trade protectionism policies.  The article points to Mr. Ramesh's reference "among other things ... very serious fears of Monsanto controlling our food chain."

For more see: “India's Green Counter-Revolution; The Congress-led government resurrects the Frankenfood scare.” Wall Street Journal, Opinion Asia, 13 Feb. 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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