This has reference to the editorial “Brinjal and beyond” (Oct. 21) analysing the GEAC’s recommendation that Bt brinjal be commercialised. The main advantage of this genetically modified variety is stated to be its pest-resistance capability, which will obviate the need for pesticides. There could be a few other benefits as well. While opposition to GM seeds from pesticide industries is but natural, doubts expressed by scientific researchers relating to food security tests, toxicity, and bio-safety cannot be ignored. Data from neutral sources from countries which have adopted GM crops should form the basis for crucial decisions.

P. Balakrishnan, Mangalore

The approval to market the first genetically-modified food crop in India should be a stepping stone for further developments in this field for achieving reliability in agriculture and food sector. GM crops are more resistant to pests and adverse climate changes. But are they safe for human beings and the environment?

We should answer this to our satisfaction before making them commercially available.

Shabeer Ali, Bangalore

GM crops are not just about science; they are about food safety, consumer choice, health, agro-ecology, farmer livelihoods, seed sovereignty, social justice, bio-diversity, biosafety and, above all, the threat of irreversible contamination of the biosphere. It is well known that the largest pesticide manufacturers in the world are also the largest seed companies (all of who are in the business of producing GM seeds). Once GM food crops are approved, these companies can peddle both pesticides and GM seeds. While our regulator has approved Bt brinjal and our media have applauded it, South Africa’s GM regulatory body has rejected attempts to bring GM potatoes to the market, citing “biosafety and socio economic and agronomic concerns.”

Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty, Mumbai

India has hundreds of domestic versions of brinjal. The government should explain why it took the decision to allow the commercial sale of Bt brinjal. Let us hope a corporate company will not be allowed to decide our food habits, the quality of food and related matters.

A.G. Rajmohan, Anantapur

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