This has reference to the editorial “Brinjal and beyond” (Oct. 21) analysing the GEAC’s recommendation that Bt brinjal be commercialised. Although Bt cotton is supposed to take pesticides out of the fields, what is happening in reality is a different story. There are reports that the sale of endosulfan and profenofos has increased in Bt cotton areas. Can we expect a different result with Bt brinjal?
Why should the pesticide industry be against the GM crops? Many times, companies produce both GM seeds and pesticides and it is well established that they make double profit by selling both. The argument that the pesticide industry is also against genetic engineering is baseless.
The controversy over the genetically modified food, in the context of Bt brinjal, has many ramifications. It is a case of “much might be said on both sides.” As it is not advisable to use pesticides on large scale in view of health hazards, one way of saving the crop is to modify it genetically to reduce the pest load, improve the yield and sustain the farmers’ income. The question of biosafety of such GM food crop for human consumption is also important, which the scientists are aware of and attending to.
The criticism of GM foods from the biosafety angle is justified. But, do we show concern about the safety of many packed-and-ready food products being indiscriminately consumed? The most unhygienic conditions under which many such food items are prepared are also issues of biosafety.