|19 January 2009
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and colleagues,
RE: Analyses Cast Doubts on Safety of Bt Brinjal
As the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), India's regulatory body for GE crops and foods, meets to look at the results of the two-year large scale trials of Bt Brinjal across the country, new analyses of the data have emerged that cast doubts on the safety of the GM crop.
Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the the France-based Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) analysed Mahyco’s Bt brinjal biosafety data (the full study is available at: http://www.criigen.org/images/stories/Actualites/ActusOGM/btbrinjal-ges_%200109.pdf) and points out that Bt brinjal had not been properly tested from the safety and environmental! point of view, observing that in feeding trials significant differences were noted in animals fed with Bt brinjal compared to those fed non-Bt controls. He therefore concludes that "Clear significant differences were seen that raise food safety concerns and warrant further investigation. The GM Bt brinjal cannot be considered as safe as its non GM counterpart. Indeed, it should be considered as unsuitable for human and animal consumption."
Meanwhile, another analysis from Dr Judy Carman of the Institute of Health & Environmental Research, New Zealand, also concluded that the studies presented byMahyco cannot be used to show that GM brinjal is safe to eat, particularly when population health issues are taken into account. In particular it found that the studies presented byMahyco are simply inadequate to determine important matters concerning toxicology, allergy, and reproductive health.
In light of the two analyses, a network of medical experts from across the country called "Doctors for Food & Bio-Safety" has called for a moratorium on all open air trials of GM crops in India.
The doctors were concerned that the incorporation of antibiotic resistant markers in Bt Brinjal is likely to have disastrous implications for developing countries like India which are struggling with communicable diseases burdens.
They further observed that the decreased calorific content (15% lesser) in Bt Brinjal and altered consumption in different studies will mean impact on nutrition which an already malnourished public could avoid. Others, such as scientists, researchers, health professionals and environmentalists have also raised their voice against the introduction of the Bt Brinjal crop in view of its potentially negative effects on human beings and animals.
With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
Website: www.biosafety-info.net and www.twnside.org.sg