1.CITIZENS URGED TO REJECT GM FOODS LIKE BT BRINJAL
2.Indian State of Orissa opposes Bt brinjal (Orissa State Agriculture Minister declare his state GM-free again today)
PICS: Consumer boycott launched at Dilli Haat on the eve of World Food Day: http://twitpic.com/lmbwm and http://twitpic.com/lmc6k
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1.CITIZENS URGED TO REJECT GM FOODS LIKE BT BRINJAL
Consumer Awareness campaign on the eve of World Food Day
Press release: October 15 2009
New Delhi: On the eve of the World Food Day on October 16th and a day after the apex regulatory body in India gave its clearance for Bt Brinjal as India's first GM food crop, consumer rights groups and Resident Welfare Associations put out a message urging Delhi'ites to reject GM (Genetically Modified) foods, citing various health hazards from such foods. They reminded Delhi'ites that their rights to safe food and a right to food of informed choice would be jeopardized with GM foods like Bt Brinjal and asked citizens to assert their rights by writing to the Prime Minister of India.
They also asked Delhi'ites to boycott various foods being imported from a handful of GM-food-producing nations which are coming in illegally and unlabelled into India. At the capital's Dilli Haat, volunteers of a consumer mobilisation campaign called "I AM NO LAB RAT" released a list of food products to be boycotted if consumers want to avoid GM foods as of today.
Farmers' organizations like the All India Kisan Sabha are concerned that seed monopolies in the hands of large MNCs through the introduction of Bt Brinjal will violate farmers' rights and decimate the biodiversity of the country - crucial for a food secure future. Consumer groups, on the other hand are deeply agitated at the violation of our fundamental rights to know what's in our food, the right to safe food and the right to make informed choices about food.
"If Bt Brinjal comes into the market, there is no way a consumer can distinguish between a natural brinjal and the genetically modified version since they look the same. This, therefore, takes away the right of consumers to exercise informed choices", said Mr Jasbir Chadda, Retired Wing commander. Convener of the United Residents’ Joint Action Forum (URJA), a federation of RWAs across Delhi that has begun an awareness campaign amongst Delhi'ites on the issue of GM foods hoping to create an informed debate on the matter with ordinary citizens' rights to safe food upheld.
Mr Sanjay Kaul of People's Action said that at a time when more and more regions around the world are declaring themselves as "GM-Free" and enforcing bans on GM crops, it is unwise of Indian regulators to have cleared Bt Brinjal a first-of-its-kind vegetable which has not been approved anywhere else in the world. Moreover, he added that "Bt Brinjal will effectively obliterate the natural Brinjal whose centre of origin lies in India."
Consumers' Forum, a member of Consumers' International (UK), objected to the approval of Bt Brinjal by the GEAC. "There are many problems with regard to the processes adopted by this panel and the Expert Committee before it, in finalizing their recommendations. The total lack of any transparency or public debate in the procedures adopted for approval of something as basic as our food is appalling and goes against the experience of countries like the UK, where the Government sponsored a nation-wide debate on GM crops called 'GM Nation', which resulted in a resounding rejection of GM foods. Indians cannot be turned into "lab rats" and this is a matter of great concern", said Mr Sunil Prakash, President of the Forum.
"We urge all Indians and especially Delhi'ites to assert their right to safe food and write to the Prime Minister of India through the website www.iamnolabrat.com to ensure the government takes a policy decision against such hazardous technologies in our food systems", said Radha Kapuria, coordinator of the consumer campaign in Delhi.
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2.Orissa opposes commercial farming of Bt brinjal
Press Trust of India, October 15 2009
Bhubaneswar - Orissa government today opposed introduction and commercial farming of genetically modified crops, including brinjal in the state.
"Commercialisation of BT brinjal is not in the best interest of the farmers of the state," Orissa Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout said.
The state was also opposed to introduction of genetically modified crops including cotton, Rout said, adding they would adversely affect large number of poor and small farmers in the state in a long run.
There were about a hundred varieties of brinjal in the state which could suffer in the event of introduction of the vegetable's modified version.
"The modified crops may help big farmers, but it would certainly not help the poor villagers who grow brinjal in their kitchen gardens," Rout said.
The minister's statement came in the wake of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)'s nod for environmental release of BT brinjal.