The Communist Party of India on Friday demanded that the government immediately withdraw the report by an expert committee that recommended Bt brinjal for commercial cultivation and cleared by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).
“Independent analyses have concluded that this Bt brinjal is unsafe for human and animal health,” he said. Reports indicated that there was a systemic interference by American agencies to get this approval.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP II) in which Mahyco (developer of Bt brinjal), Indian universities and others were made consortium partners.
He said the project stated expressly that it was “to support Mahyco’s efforts to complete regulatory approval.” ABSP II project members did studies for Mahyco and also sat to review their own findings in the expert committee.
“Prima facie, the expert committee has not responded adequately to the issues raised about the safety of Bt brinjal. Several valid technical points raised by internationally acclaimed scientists were answered by statements such as “this point does not merit consideration” or “this is not part of newly adopted guidelines.”
The new guidelines were put in place by American agencies like USAID in the first place through their South Asia Bio-safety Programme. The expert committee Chair himself was unsure of the safety of Bt brinjal, he said.