Bt brinjal is a step away from becoming India

The government regulator gives a go-ahead to India

French scientist Gilles-Eric S

Comments by Doug Gurian-Sherman on the Report of the Expert Committee (EC-II) on Bt Brinjal Event EE-1 (developed by: M/s
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd. (Mahyco) and partners, and submitted to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi, October 8 2009).

Independent analysis of Mahyco

This document has been written in response to Mahyco's dossier in the public domain and a request for an appraisal of the data by lead petitioner in the Supreme Court of India, Aruna Rodrigues. This review concentrates on the food safety evaluation done by Mahyco as reported in Chapter 7 of Volume I of their submission and critiques that section.

This comprehensive review of all aspects of cultivation of brinjal in India summarises the development and regulatory status in India of biotech Bt brinjal hybrids. Bt brinjal was approved in India for experimental seed production in 2008-2009 and is under consideration for commercial release.

Six outstanding issues sum up just how faulty and perfunctory the Regulator's approach to bio-safety has been. Even the current inadequate norms for safety testing have NOT been applied to GM food crops like Bt okra and Bt brinjal before they were field tested. A. In No case has there been an appropriate and comprehensive risk assessment.

BT, or soil bacteria bacillus thuringiensis, may have been involved in controversy of late over its use in the genetic modification of brinjal, but the bacteria-produced toxin could help battle roundworm infection worldwide, an article published recently in Nature magazine says.

Jairam Ramesh, the Union minister for environment and forests, has agreed to put Bt brinjal on hold. I believe this is the right and only decision that he could have taken.