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Old 14-03-2003, 10:08 PM
Marcus Williamson
 
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Default Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food


http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/EC14Df03.html

Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food
By Ranjit Devraj

NEW DELHI - Not too many people were surprised when India, which is
staggering under a 48 million tonne foodgrain surplus, rejected last
week imports of 23,000 tonnes of corn and soya blend suspected to be
contain genetically modified corn.

"The surprise really was that the proposals were made at all," said
Devinder Sharma of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, one
of a group of leading voluntary agencies that has been resisting the
importation of genetically modified (GM) food and calling for the
rationalization of India's food distribution system.

Last week's was the second attempt, after an earlier one in November,
made by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the
voluntary agencies Catholic Relief Services and CARE-India to sneak in
consignments of corn or corn/soya blend. These had been rejected by
several countries and major manufacturers of processed foods on
suspicion of being contaminated with genetically modified Star Link
corn.

Developed by the seed transnational Aventis, Star Link corn is spliced
with a toxic gene taken from a soil bacteria that is deadly to pests
and is approved only for industrial use and in cattle feed. But the
genetically engineered variety ended up getting mixed with regular
corn supplies.

Traces of Star Link corn were first discovered in a sample of Taco
Bell taco shells and quickly led to the recall of nearly 300 products
in the United States itself, including more than 150 brands of corn
chips, taco shells, corn dogs, corn bread, breakfast cereals and
polenta.

It also prompted Japan and South Korea, the principal importers of US
corn, to source supplies from other countries, such as China,
Argentina and Brazil, causing major upheavals in the global food
market.

Sharma said that although the rejection by the Genetic Engineering
Approval Committee (GEAC) that functions under the Ministry of
Environment and Forests was a victory for anti-GM campaigners, the
whole episode smacked of a weak regulatory mechanism susceptible to
political pressure from such agencies as USAID.

GEAC officials said that the latest consignment was rejected because
neither USAID nor the concerned agencies, Catholic Relief Services and
CARE-India, were willing to certify that it would not contain "any
traces of Star Link corn or any other GM traces hazardous to human
health".

Said Sharma, "What if USAID had produced such a certificate? Would
GEAC then have allowed the import of the blend at a time when India's
granaries are full and the grain rotting for want of storage space?"
Sharma was sore that the GEAC, departing from past practice, had not
allowed voluntary agencies, consumer groups or other stakeholders in
the hugely sensitive issue to participate in the meeting where the
consignments were finally declared rejected.

But groups like Greenpeace International wrote to the GEAC, warning
that it had been too well-established that "Star Link and similar
genetic contamination cannot be retrieved, controlled or even
segregated" and that this made any certification "highly suspect and
objectionable".

In the end, representatives from the Indian Council of Medical
research, which falls under the Ministry of Health, pointed to the
controversy that broke out in 2001 after Star Link corn was found to
have slipped into the food chain, and prevailed over the GEAC to
announce a rejection.

What worries activists is a new policy adopted by the GEAC in February
that it would consider imports of GM foods on a case-by-case basis
rather than stick to its original blanket ban. Already, GEAC is under
fire for having given approval, last year, to the commercial planting
of GM cotton, developed by the US seed giant Monsanto, which has
resulted in massive losses to farmers in several states thanks to
unprecedented crop failures.

"And now the onus for identifying the risk and protecting both people
and their ecosystems is being cleverly shifted to the importing
countries - and this is a clear violation of the basic principles of
the bio-safety protocol," said Greenpeace campaigner G
Ananthapadmanabhan.

Food campaigner Vandana Shiva, speaking on behalf of the National
Alliance for Women's Food Rights, said the episode showed "the lengths
to which the US government is going to in order to push GM foods as
food aid to Third World countries with vulnerable populations".
Shiva accused the US government of pressuring the GEAC through the
powerful Prime Minister's Office to meet with USAID officials as well
as representatives from the Catholic Relief Services and CARE-India,
while excluding other groups "representing the interests of the Indian
people".

The government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has adopted a
pronounced pro-US stance and has taken a number of steps aimed at
pleasing Washington, including the offer of military support for its
war against terror following the September 11 attacks.

However, Washington has, while welcoming New Delhi's offer of support,
preferred to get help from its "most allied ally" in the region -
Pakistan - a country with a long history of rivalry with India. Last
year, Pakistan declared GM soya bean to be safe for human consumption
and allowed imports, but activist groups in that country went to court
in November asking for a stay on the import, sale and distribution of
GM soya and its products.

GM soya imports into Pakistan are part of a US$467 million refund in
lieu of the advance amount that Islamabad paid in the late eighties
for the purchase of 28 F-16 fighter aircraft , which was later
cancelled by Washington.




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Old 15-03-2003, 02:08 AM
Dennis G.
 
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Default Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food

Marcus Williamson wrote:


http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/EC14Df03.html

Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food
By Ranjit Devraj

NEW DELHI - Not too many people were surprised when India, which is
staggering under a 48 million tonne foodgrain surplus, rejected last
week imports of 23,000 tonnes of corn and soya blend suspected to be
contain genetically modified corn.

These erroneous stories circulate in 2 year cycles it seems.

Has Starlink ever poisoned anyone ? The original concern was a POSSIBLE
allergenic effect. Has anyone ever suffered a harmful allergy through Starlink ?

Of course, I want citations.

Dennis
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Old 15-03-2003, 07:27 AM
Jim Webster
 
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Default Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food


Marcus Williamson wrote in message
...

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/EC14Df03.html

Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food
By Ranjit Devraj

NEW DELHI - Not too many people were surprised when India, which is
staggering under a 48 million tonne foodgrain surplus,


I'm glad someone approves of the Green revolution


--
Jim Webster

"The pasture of stupidity is unwholesome to mankind"

'Abd-ar-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Khaldun al-Hadrami'



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Old 17-03-2003, 07:32 PM
Marcus Williamson
 
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Default Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food


Has Starlink ever poisoned anyone ? The original concern was a POSSIBLE
allergenic effect. Has anyone ever suffered a harmful allergy through Starlink ?


Well, Aventis (now Bayer CropScience) removed it from the market. Even
*they* must have thought there was something wrong with it...

regards
Marcus

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Old 18-03-2003, 02:44 AM
Dennis G.
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thanks, but no thanks, says India to GM food

Marcus Williamson wrote:


Has Starlink ever poisoned anyone ? The original concern was a POSSIBLE
allergenic effect. Has anyone ever suffered a harmful allergy through Starlink ?


Well, Aventis (now Bayer CropScience) removed it from the market. Even
*they* must have thought there was something wrong with it...

regards
Marcus

You are speculating without evidence.
My speculation is that the product became unsaleable due to the false news
spread about the product.

Dennis


 
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