Monday, November 30, 2009


Greetings from "MY RIGHT TO SAFE FOOD"

Shocking indeed. The jig saw puzzle is meticulously solved and revealed by Kavitha Kuruganti from the Coalition for GM-Free India.

Please find attached a report from the Coalition which describes how the Expert Committee on Bt Brinjal was a rigged-up affair so to speak. To quote Kavitha
"(1) it was systemically rigged up by USAID through ABSPII and SABP projects and (2) by many individuals in the Expert Committee posing a question mark on the committee itself.

The biggest question mark is on the Chair, who seems to succumbed under pressure brought on him. The objectionable presence of many in the Expert Committee leads us to conclude that this was rigged up and was designed for a particular outcome - that of approving Bt Brinjal!

There is also an issue that is still somewhat unclear about how many GEAC members were actually present in the October meeting which further cleared the Bt Brinjal approval, since the minutes of the GEAC meeting don't have a list of the members present but the minutes seem to indicate (seem to indicate) that there were probably around 12-13 members not present".

Please view this link - Monday, November 30, 2009 - India's GM scandal: By Devinder Sharma

"Bt brinjal approval rigged
The environmental clearance by an Expert Committee (called EC-II) set by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to accord approval to the controversial genetically modified crop -- Bt brinjal -- was actually rigged.
As a consumer, you need to understand how you were likely to be served poisonous food by a bunch of people (who operate in the name of scientists) whose only job is to promote the commercial interests of the private seed and biotech companies. The conflict of interest of most of the members of the EC-II comes out clearly in this exposure".



New Delhi, November 30th 2009: In the light of new information emerging on the Bt Brinjal Expert Committee being compromised, casting a bigger shadow of doubt on fair and scientific inquiry into the safety and other issues related to Bt Brinjal, the Coalition for a GM-Free India demanded the immediate withdrawal of the report which recommended Bt Brinjal for India. News emerged yesterday on the Chairperson of the Expert Committee admitting to coming under pressure to approve Bt Brinjal. Further, fresh information on other members of the Expert Committee shows that this Committee was rigged up, said the Coalition.

The following are the new facts emerging on the Expert Committee which recommended Bt Brinjal for clearance (EC2 or Expert Committee II):

The Chairperson, Prof Arjula Reddy, confesses to coming under pressure from “Agriculture Minister, GEAC and the industry” to approve Bt Brinjal (Attached report has Dr Pushpa Bhargava’s statement on a telephonic conversation that Prof Reddy had to this effect with Dr Bhargava, the Supreme Court observer to GEAC, the apex regulatory body in India)
The Member-Secretary, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM in the DBT), Dr K K Tripathi has a Central Vigilance Commission complaint pending against him for exercising undue discretionary powers to promote interests of companies of his choice (Mahyco, in this instance) and harm others. He sat in the Expert Committee which was considering Mahyco’s application, while the CVC complaint was still being examined!
At least two Bt Brinjal developers in the Expert Committee bring in conflicting interests. One of them is part of the Consortium project that is developing Bt Brinjal in India with American aid!
At least two members sat in the Expert Committee, reviewing their institutions’ own findings on Bt Brinjal biosafety!
At least two members who were expressly representing the Union Health Ministry sat as observers in the Expert Committee without providing any inputs into the EC2 process.

Further, the GEAC deviated from the agreed mandate for the Expert Committee, as minuted in its January meeting minutes, to set up a new mandate that allowed the EC2 to recommend Bt Brinjal for cultivation.

The Expert Committee was also privy to some data that was never put out in the public domain for independent scrutiny and analysis but which was used for decision-making.

“The new information on the Chairperson of the Expert Committee confessing to coming under pressure and actually showing that he has succumbed under pressure given the final contents of the EC2 report and the objectionable presence of several members who were carrying conflicting interests puts a huge question mark on the scientificity and objectivity of this Expert Committee in assessing Bt Brinjal and its safety. The Government of India asking us to respond to this rigged-up report is an irony, given that the outcomes are being pre-decided in this fashion. We demand that the EC2’s report be immediately withdrawn”, said the Coalition.

For more information, contact:

Kavitha Kuruganti, Kheti Virasat Mission: (0) 93-930-01550
Bhaskar Goswami, Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security: (0) 98-111-91335

Encl: "Is this what Indians should be trusting?" - a note on the rigged-up Expert Committee.

Ms. Aruna Rodriques from Sunray Harvesters

Aruna Rodrigues wrote:
9 November, 2009, 15:09

The following extracts from Supreme court submission are of relevance.

From Submission of Aug 08 to the SC
" Furthermore, it is on record that for toxicity and allergenicity, testing is grossly inadequate by international standards and even the ICMR guidelines have not been adhered to. Testing for chronic toxicity of GM food crops is essential and requires long term testing, a point agreed to by the ICMR representative and recorded at point 5.7 of Agenda item 4 of the 85th Meeting of the GEAC. It was further agreed that therefore, the ICMR bio-safety guide lines would be amended and that Dr Vasantha Muthswamy would interact with Dr Bhargava to prepare another draft (item 4.2 of the 85th Meeting)".

NOTE: This was never done. Now, at some point the draft guidelines of the ICMR were finalised and diluted went public

From Nov 1st Submision (please note, tests for chronic toxicity were objected to on grounds that they would take too long. Now we have diluted guidelines by the ICMR and these are the justification. (genetically engineered guidelines with intended effects!)

"There are very few established protocols internationally to determine the human health impacts of GE foods. These are generally piecemeal and fragmented. India is a faithful adherent of the US system where safety testing is undefined and haphazard. In the US it also voluntary because GE foods are given GRAS status (Generally Recognised As Safe). The methods of rigorous bio-safety and risk assessment in their time-scale are by definition, long term, to uncover the potential harmful changes in GE proteins in foods as a result of the transformation process. These include testing procedures for chronic toxicity. Yet the Regulators in their Reply are on record dismissing both, scientific methods of risk assessment and long term multi-generational animal feeding studies because they will take too long. The question must be asked: too long for whom? Whose advantage are the Regulators pushing?"

Definition Conflict of Interest From the Court Submission:

A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust has competing professional or personal interests, which make it difficult to fulfil his or her duties without grace or favour, i.e. impartially. A conflict of interest can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine confidence in the person, profession, or court system.


In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

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