Press Release, 4 October 2016
Europe is moving on the poison free path to the future then why should India allow these poisons to be eaten by Indian children? — Vandana Shiva
New Delhi, 4 Oct 16: Dr Vandana Shiva, environmentalist and biosafety scientist submitted her critique of the GM Mustard by biosafety report on Tuesday. The Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change had placed some sections of the GM biosafety report on its website. The ministry had invited the civil society organizations and experts to submit their comments via email by 5th October 2016.
Release of the biosafety report started a heated debate among the scientists, environmentalists, e medical community and NGOs as many of the scientific and biosafety procedures were not followed. On 30th September at the Round Table Conference organised by Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Dr Eric Seralini, the world’s top expert on GM biosafety even commented that “on the lapse of scientific safety measures, as “no feeding tests have been conducted” and “no blood analysis of the animals have been conducted or kept hidden.”
Dr Shiva in her assessment raised twenty vital objections against the biosafety report. They point to key loopholes in the reports. The report lacks information and evidence on patents to improper and no feeding studies and blood analysis to herbicide tolerance traits (Illegal as per India’s laws) and further no socio-economic assessments have been carried out along with other health and biosafety tests.
“The IPR on GM mustard is central to the GM mustard debate, and yet there is no disclosure on this. Deepak Pental’s GM Mustard is based on Bayer’s barnase/barstar/gene system to create male-sterile plants, and a bar-gene for glufosinate resistance (illegal as per Indian law). In 2002, Pro-Agro’s (Bayer) application for approval of commercial planting of GM mustard based on the same system was turned down,” Dr Shiva said.
“Glufosinate is sold by Bayer as its property herbicide Basta which is a known neurotoxin. Glufosinate is going to banned in Europe in 2017. With the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, the ban on Roundup (glyphosate) and Basta (Glufosinate) as well as ban on GMOs made these herbicides resistant, Europe is moving on the poison free path to the future then why should India allow these poisons to be eaten by Indian children?”
“Europe is scientific when it bans glyphosate and HT(herbicide tolerant) crops, but India is unscientific when it does a scientific appraisal based on scientific biosafety assessments,” she added.
The mega merger between Bayer and Monsanto creates a global monopoly that further threatens the sovereignty of India. Monsanto’s Bt cotton accounts for 95 % of cotton grown in India and the Indian Anti-Trust body Competition Commission of India is probing them for unfair business practices and dominate abuse of position. Indian farmers have already suffered for the Bt cotton profits, one cannot even imagine the devastation herbicide tolerant GM mustard will cause.
“Deepak Pental, far from being a “Swadeshi Scientist” is a Bayer agent, who has even served time in Tihar Jail. The assessment report is filled with scientific contradictions. Indian children are not Bayer lab rats, and cannot be sacrificed for Bayer’s profits. Independent feeding studies, health and socio-economic factors should be done, before we expose 1.5 billion Indians to this unscientific GM fraud,” said Dr Shiva.
Far from providing food sovereignty GM mustard for India, the herbicide absorbing plant will destroy companion planting in India. Mustard in most parts is India is planted with wheat and chana, and once the herbicide will be sprayed in the GM mustard fields it will kill our wheat and chana, thus reducing overall yield and nutrition.