Doctors caution against genetically modified food
1.Doctors caution against genetically modified food
2.Prominent film director accuses MNCs of unleashing 'bio-terrorism' on India
3.GM crops failed to impress farmers
"We cannot remain a mute spectator and let the biotech companies fill their coffers by using our bodies as their slaves in India. If the Government and regulatory bodies continue to ignore warnings by scientists and release any GM food crop, I won't mind spearheading a countrywide campaign on the scale that India has not seen since the days of Independent movement for one simple reason that we all feel hungry and we can't live without eating food." - Mahesh Bhatt, prominent Indian film director, producer and screenwriter (item 2)
1.Doctors caution against genetically modified food
Express News Service, Feb 7 2009
Ludhiana: At a time when Bt Brinjal may soon be introduced into the market, several renowned doctors of the city today initiated a consumer awareness campaign against genetically modified (GM) foods, citing health problems.
The doctors called for an immediate moratorium on all GM foods and vowed to intensify the campaign in the coming months so that the Government sets up a safety assessment protocol to look into the safety of such food items.
The campaign, "I am no lab rat", was launched in Chandigarh on January 30. It is a consumer awareness and mobilisation campaign called as part of a nation-wide campaign. The campaign was initiated in Amritsar on February 3.
Speaking at a seminar at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital today, Dr G P I Singh, an expert in social and preventive medicine and member of Doctors' for Food and Bio-Safety, pointed out that the decreased calorific content in Bt Brinjal and altered consumption would result in an adverse impact on nutrition.
"This may jeopardise the national health programmes for control of tuberculosis, diarrhoea and sexually transmitted diseases," he said.
The movement against GM foods is gathering momentum at a time when the biotech industry is seeking to introduce the first GM food crop in India in the form of Bt Brinjal, created by inserting a bacterial gene with antibiotic-resistant genes so that the plant produces its own poison against a certain set of pests.
Dr Inderjeet Kaur of All India Pingalwara Charitable Society said: "Indian regulators have compromised their objectivity by basing their approval on data submitted by the applicant company itself."
Dr L S Chawla, former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, said: "Allowing GM foods like Bt Brinjal without prominent labelling will be a violation of a consumer's right to know what he/she is eating and the right to safe food. Bt Brinjal did not undergo any independent, long-term testing and it has already been established that GM foods have an adverse impact, including inter-generational effects, on the population."
The doctors collectively stated that commercial considerations must not be allowed to run at cross-purposes with long-term implications on human and animal health. The conference was attended by Dr Arun Mitra, Vice-President of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab, and noted ophthalmologist Padma Shri Dr Daljit Singh.
2.Mahesh Bhatt attacks MNCs in short film
Indiantelevision.com, 5 February 2009
NEW DELHI : Renowned filmmaker and social activist Mahesh Bhatt, in his first foray as anchor in the new film 'Poison on the Platter' directed by Ajay Kanchan, has attacked biotech multinational companies and their nexus with regulatory bodies.
He has accused the MNCs for unleashing what he describes as 'bio-terrorism' in the country. Bhatt said: "In their mad rush to capture the multi-billion dollar Indian agricultural and food industry, the biotech MNCs are bulldozing warnings by scientists about the adverse impact of GM foods on health and environment, and hurtling mankind towards a disaster, which will be far more destructive than anything the world has seen so far, simply because it will affect every single person living on this planet."
Bhatt's film makes a mockery of the Indian government's claim of not allowing import of any GM foods in the country as it conclusively demonstrates that supermarkets in India are flooded with harmful food stuff and biotech MNCs are cashing in on the ignorance of unsuspecting consumers in India.
"Indians are unfortunately kept in dark, and the corporations are hatching strategies to cash in on their ignorance. Poison on the Platter is, therefore, an attempt to generate awareness among consumers and kick start an informed debate on the issue", said Bhatt.
Trials of GM foods on lab animals across the world have repeatedly shown that they cause bleeding stomachs, and adversely affect brain, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas and intestine. They have been even linked to higher offspring mortality and causing infertility.
"Are we ready to eat a food that has the potential to stunt our growth, impair our immune system and adversely affect all our vital organs", asks Ajay Kanchan, director of the documentary, adding that "It's shocking that instead of protecting the interests of farmers and consumers, regulatory bodies in India are pandering to the greed of biotech MNCs like Monsanto, whose track record is littered with lies, deceptions and notorious ability to corrupt the regulatory bodies all over the world".
"I can say with absolute confidence that there is irrefutable and overwhelming evidence that genetically engineered foods are harmful and that they are not being evaluated properly by the governments of India , United States , the European Union, or anywhere in the world," said Jeffrey M. Smith, Founder Director, Institute of Responsible Technology and author of two widely respected books on health impact of GM foods Ë† Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, adding that "this is one of the most dangerous technologies ever introduced on earth, and it's being deployed in our food supply. It's madness, what we need is a political willingness to say no more".
Concluding a panel discussion following the screening of the film, Mahesh Bhatt said, "We cannot remain a mute spectator and let the biotech companies fill their coffers by using our bodies as their slaves in India . If the Government and regulatory bodies continue to ignore warnings by scientists and release any GM food crop, I won't mind spearheading a countrywide campaign on the scale that India has not seen since the days of Independent movement for one simple reason that we all feel hungry and we can't live without eating food."
3.GM crops failed to impress farmers: US Professor
Press Trust of India, 7 Feb 2009
Amritsar (PTI): The Genetically Modified (GM) crops have failed to penetrate the agricultural industry, despite nearly two decades of continuous, intensive and expensive promotion by multi-national biotech companies, a US educator said.
Prof John Fagan, associate director, Institute of Science Technology and Public Policy, Ottawa, USA, was here to deliver a lecture on 'Food Safety and Food Security in the era of Climate Change and Biotechnology' at the Guru Nanak Dev University.
He said although the biotech industry has developed GM varieties of many major crops and governments have approved these crops for commercialisation, farmers have refused them as some negative effects were seen on maize, soy, cotton and rapeseed.
Prof Fagan said, when farmers were given the opportunity to make an 'informed' choice regarding whether or not to adopt GM crops, they rejected them. As a result, only four major GM crops of maize, soy, cotton, and rapeseed, have been commercialised, he added.
He said scientists have now developed much more effective and safer approaches such as Marker Assisted Breeding that use cutting edge discoveries in modern genetic science to develop new and valuable crop varieties more rapidly, economically and safely.