Youth outrage at GEAC meeting; demands ban of unsafe Bt Brinjal

Press release - January 14, 2009
NEW DELHI, India — The 91st meeting of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) witnessed an unprecedented youth outrage today when a group of 50 anxious youths gathered outside the meeting place at CGO complex, raised ‘STOP’ symbols and started whistling. They were protesting against the indifference shown by the country’s regulatory mechanism towards the health impacts of Genetically Modified (GM) food even after an independent study proved that Bt Brinjal is unsafe for human consumption. The protest was organized by ‘Youth for Safe food’, a forum comprising of students, young working professionals and activists.

Youngistan against Bt Brinjal

An independent analysis of Mahyco's Bt Brinjal biosafety data by Prof Seralini, a French scientist, released last Friday proved that the modified brinjal variety is unsafe for human consumption. The analysis concluded that Bt brinjal release into the environment, for food or feed, may present a serious risk for human and animal health and the release should be forbidden. It is to be noted that Prof Seralini's study is based on the data generated by the company and was earlier approved by GEAC. This data was kept confidential and was made public by the GEAC in August 2008 after a protracted struggle under Right to Information by Greenpeace and a Supreme Court Public Interest Litigation by Aruna Rodrigues and others .

"We are worried. After all it's a matter of food. The responsible youth of the country cannot sit idle when there is a corporate conspiracy to damage our food system for ever. We hope more youngsters will get concerned about this issue and raise their voices against this corporate fraud", said Radha Kapuria, a student of Delhi University who participated in the protest.  

Recently, after an Austrian Government study released in November 2008 proved that long term consumption of GM food can cause reproductive health hazards in women and after the continuous demand by several doctors, consumers, farmers and civil society groups from across the country, the Union health minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss had taken a strong public stand against GM food.  

"It is quite obvious why the company resorted to a deliberate misinterpretation risking public health , but what is worrying is that the GEAC has blindly accepted the reports prepared by a company with a vested interest.", said Rajesh Krishnan, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

Civil groups across the country had send 100s of faxes to GEAC to take note of the Austrian study and Seralini's analysis.

The youth group demanded GEAC to take Seralini's report into consideration and stop the commercialization of Bt Brinjal.

For further information, contact

Gopikrishna SR, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace India, Mob: +91 9900897341

Notes to Editor

1. Prof Seralini’s expertise in this field is widely acknowledged. For 9 years, from 1998-2007 he was a member of two Commissions for evaluating GMOs before and after commercial release, (the Commissions of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Ecology). In particular, Mon 810 a Bt corn was found to be toxic after it had been approved for release by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), as a result of which, it is now banned in France and is under serious review by other EU countries. He was also an ‘Expert’ witness for the EU on their first panel in the WTO conflict with the US on a GM moratorium (2003); ‘Expert’ also for the European Committee for the Reassessment of Biotechnologies (2008).

2. Austrian study -- The Government of Austria commissioned a study in 2007 for assessing the impacts of long term feeding of transgenic corn - to assess reproductive capacities, impacts on multiple generations and on the life term of the mice. The study was conducted by the Institute for Food under the Department of Public Health Care in collaboration with Research Institute for Organic Agriculture, involving both the ministries of Agriculture and Health. It can be accessed at: