GE threat moves to cities

Greenpeace activists bear witness to a Bt Brinjal field trial

Press release - January 15, 2008
HAMIDPUR, DELHI, India — Greenpeace activists wearing huge "eye balls" bore witness to open-air field trials of genetically engineered Brinjal (aubergine) at Hamidpur, on the outskirts of Delhi today.

Greenpeace activists bearing witness to open-air field trials of genetically engineered Brinjal (aubergine) at Hamidpur, near Delhi. This was to highlight that GE field trials are risky and can be a threat to public health.

The activists also demarcated the field with tapes and erected sign boards warning the general public about hazardous GE crops being experimented.

This test field is one of ten fields of the Sungro company, which is a subsidiary of Mahyco seeds, a partner of the multinational seed giant Monsanto.  

"Genetically engineered crops have not proven safe for human health. Even the minimum mandatory tests, which are barely adequate to prove safety, have not been done for these crops. Test sites like this, scattered across the country for various food crops like brinjal, rice, okra, potato and groundnut are risking public health and safety" said Jai Krishna, campaigner for GE-free India, Greenpeace.

The open-air field, growing Bt Brinjal is an example of the fifty GE field trials being carried out across the country. More than ten of these field trials are now being conducted by the publicly-funded ICAR and its institutes on behalf of these private seed corporations. "This clearly shows the kind of nexus that has evolved between the regulators and the corporations against the health of the people" added Jai Krishna.    

The bio-safety tests that have been done so far on these crops have also not been divulged by the government and the company1, disabling any independent analysis of these controversial tests. A recent independent scientific analysis in France on Monsanto's GE corn had contradicted the company's claim on health impacts. This had led to the French government's ban on GE corn on the grounds of risks to environment and health.  

According to Greenpeace, the open-air field trials of GE crops is not any more a matter of research and development but an issue of public health. The health minister should step into this debate and restore the right of people to have safe food.

Greenpeace activists also circulated a list of the field trial locations that are happening across the country at present, urging citizens to be cautious of these trials.

The Central Information Commissioner has in his order dated 22 November 2007 directed the disclosure of the bio-safety test data of these crops. This has been refused by the government and the company.

For further information, contact

Jai Krishna, Campaigner for GE free India, Greenpeace, +91-9845591992,

Jayashree Nandi, Greenpeace Communications: +91-9343868011,