India has halted commercial production of the first genetically modified vegetable crop due to health and safety concerns.
These genetically modified eggplants have been tested since 2008 and were approved by government scientist in 2009…but they still don’t trust them
India is the largest producer of eggplants in the world, growing and exporting 4,000 different varieties. India has modified the brinjal (see above) a smallish eggplant found in India, Pakistan (aka begun) and Sri Lanka. Scientist have inserted a gene to make the Bt-brinjal resistant to insects. If an insect were to ingest the Bt toxin then there would be a “disruption of its digestive processes” leading to death. The hope is that this technology would lead to a diminished dependence on pesticides by Indian farmers and a higher production rate…meaning more eggplants for India’s rapidly growing population and more to export.
India is already growing Bt-cotton since 2002…the difference is that we don’t eat cotton so people are more freaked out about the effects of the insect killing eggplants.
Many anti-Bt groups are claiming that there are serious side-effects of Bt and believe that the consumption of genetically modified crops may cause cancer. Due to public protest, environment Minister Jairam Ramesh says that more studies are needed to ensure that they are safe for consumer and is holding a series of meetings across India. In addition, Bt-production has been halted and many eggplant producing provinces have refused to grow BT-brinjal.
Does this affect me?
In our global economy we receive food from all over the world. With biotechnology countries are able to isolate genes in plants to make their crops more insect resistant, drought resistant, larger, tastier. These crops are more competitive in the world market, therefore, more likely to be in your household.
Images Source: Google Images, Greenpeace