Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reject Bt Brinjal Dossier, Halt GM Trials, Enact Bio-Safety Laws in for TN State

Press Release: Safe Food Alliance, Chennai

Chennai, January 23, 2011: Pointing to the latest scientific evidence on Bt Brinjal that shows that this unnatural, novel food cannot be recommended for human consumption given the toxic results on rats fed with Bt Brinjal, food safety activists of Coalition for a GM-Free India wanted the Central Government to reject the Bt Brinjal dossier of the crop developer once and for all. “This latest analysis once again shows how undependable the Indian regulators are in the discharge of their responsibility – that of protecting India’s health and environment and Mr Jairam Ramesh was right in ensuring that Bt Brinjal was not allowed for commercial cultivation. Other analyses that emerged after the moratorium was placed by Mr Ramesh clearly show the inadequacy of safety assessment in the country, also reflecting upon how the regulators are not to be trusted. It is time that the entire Bt Brinjal dossier is rejected once and for all”, they said.

Ananthu, who travelled across India recently as part the Kisan Swaraj Yatra and a prominent member of Safe Food Alliance said that, “The need for the state government to reserve the right on GM crop decision-making including open air trials becomes clear once again with the latest analysis on Bt Brinjal. While it was good that on Bt Brinjal the state government was able to communicate its stand to the Centre, the push for Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) at the Centre clearly shows that state governments will not be allowed their constitutional right in the future with the enactment of such bills as BRAI and Seeds Bill. We urge the Tamilnadu government to enact a bio-safety legislation at the state level so that its constitutional right as well as responsibility in the matter is upheld. We will press for such a policy enactment being part of the manifesto of all parties during the coming Assembly elections and urge them to ban all GM trials in the State”.

The latest analysis on the bio-safety of Bt Brinjal was done by Dr Lou Gallagher, a toxicology and epidemiology expert from New Zealand on the behest of Aruna Rodrigues, the main petitioner of the Supreme Court PIL on GMOs. The main findings of Dr Gallagher’s report released recently show that the food safety studies for Bt Brinjal were not conducted in accordance with published standards, did not accurately summarize results and worse, ignored toxic endpoints for rats fed Bt Brinjal. In the studies conducted by Mahyco on rats with Bt Brinjal, the rats experienced organ and system damage (incl. of ovaries, spleen, white blood cells etc.) and toxic effects to the liver. Major health problems among test animals were ignored in these reports, points out Dr Gallagher. Dr Gallagher in her report says that “release of Bt Brinjal for human consumption cannot be recommended given the current evidence of toxicity to rats in just 90 days and the studies’ serious departures from normal scientific standards”.

“It is clear that regulators as well as scientists who are in a position to take decisions on behalf of all Indians are being unscientific and non-rigorous in their approach; they also have no long term vision for sustainable development. This is also demonstrated by the way the so-called “updated” inter-academy report on GM crops of six science academies in India was biased, inconsistent and did not choose to be scientific. This kind of regulatory and scientific establishment in India is bringing shame to this country. While farmers in this country are reeling under great distress in a scenario of rising costs due to intensive agriculture models and environmental resources are constantly getting degraded, it is immoral that no sound plans are being made to take Indian agriculture into the right direction which will secure income for Indian farmers, conserve their resources and produce adequate and safe food for all Indians”, said Kavitha Kuruganti of Coalition for a GM-Free India.

For more information, contact: Dr. Sivaraman, 9444027455 or Selvaganapathy, 9790951652 of Safe Food Alliance, Chennai and Kavitha Kuruganti of Coalition for a GM-Free India at 093-930-01550 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meeting on 9th Jan 2011, KSY follow-up in Tamilnadu

Ananthoo of ReStore Chennai has been part of the Kisan Swaraj Yatra, travelling from Sabarmathi on the 2nd October, 2010 to Rajghat in December 2010. He has traversed through several states and met many organic farmers, sustainable agriculture initiatives and institutions.  

Safe Food Alliance, Chennai is organizing a meeting on the 9th, January, 2011 to felicitate Ananthoo, to listen to him share his experiences and also to make plans for promoting sustainable agriculture and safe food in the State for the year ahead. 

The meeting will be between 3-5 p.m. The venue for the meeting will be Ma Foi Centre, (2nd floor waiting hall), 309, Poonamallee High Road, Chennai. Directions to the venue: The building is close to Pachayappas College, on top of the Maruti car show room.