Prominent Indian scientist: Bt brinjal is safe

eggplant-florida-marketBt brinjal (eggplant) is a genetically modified plant which is created by inserting a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into the genome of the brinjal. The Bt brinjal has been developed to have resistance against lepidopteron insects. It was approved for commercialization in India in 2009, but after backlash due to anti-GMO fearmongering, a moratorium was facilitated on its release.

A workshop on Communicating Science and Bio-safety, organized by the Indian Institute of the Mass Communication, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was recently held at Panjab University. At the conference Dr. Gurinderjit Randhawa argued in favor of removing India s moratorium on Bt brinjal. Dr. Randhawa is a principal scientist of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi.

Bt Brinjal is safe for human consumption and should be commercialized at all costs, she stated.

Dr. Randhawa said that farmers need to be informed about the way GM crops are grown, and a monitoring and evaluation committee should oversee the implementation. No problems are caused if the technology is used the way it is meant to be, she said.

In his April New York Times op-ed, How I Got Converted to GMO Food, Mark Lynas discussed the commercial release of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh. In his piece, Lynas focused on a farmer in Bangladesh who was one of only 108 farmers allowed to plant and harvest the modified crop. This GMO crop has miraculously enhanced his and his family s living conditions, while reducing standard pesticide inputs. But because Bt brinjal is a hated G.M.O., or genetically modified organism, it is Public Enemy No.1 to environmental groups everywhere, Lynas lamented.