Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GM label soon [India]

GM label on packaged food soon
by Jayashree Nandi
The Times of India
June 18, 2012

NEW DELHI - Soon Indian consumers will have the opportunity to know whether the packaged food that they are buying contains genetically modified organisms. But will that help? In India, where a majority of food is unprocessed and non-packaged, labeling on packaged food may hardly cover the huge populations’ right to choose.

A gazette notification issued by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution early this month says that every food package containing genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel, the words ‘GM.’

So now consumers in India are a little more empowered and can decide whether they would like to consume genetically modified foods. Greenpeace India, an environmental NGO, welcomed this step by the government but said that it would hardly make an impact. “While labeling does give the consumer a chance to avoid genetically modified food in the market, what our government seems to forget is that it is impractical here as more than 90% of our food is unprocessed and non-packaged and forms a chunk of the unorganized sector,” said sustainable agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace, Shivani Shah.

The gazette notification also lacks clarity on the threshold for the presence of GM ingredients. It mentions no mechanisms on how this will this be monitored, and whether this is applicable to both primary and processed foods.

[Read More…]

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Destroy GMO-tainted papaya!

Destroy GMO-tainted papaya crops, researcher says
By Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Nation
May 18, 2012

Academics yesterday called on the Agriculture Department to destroy farms growing Hawaiian papaya in Kanchanaburi province after a recent study found that these crops might be contaminated with genetically modified organisms (GMO).

The move came after a study conducted by Piyasak Chaumpluk from Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Botany revealed on Wednesday that 29 samples of Hawaiian papaya tested in Kanchanaburi province were tainted.

”Tests show that papaya grown in 50-rai in Kanchanaburi province have GMO,” Piyasak said. ”The department should destroy these farms in order to prevent the contamination from spreading.”

Piyasak said he had all the information ready, but did not want to make any of it public as it would affect the farmers. He also called on the department to compensate farmers whose farms would be destroyed, adding the authorities should not blame the farmers for this.

”I don’t think they knew that the papaya seeds were tainted with GMO,” he said.

[Read More…]

Monday, May 14, 2012

Field trials stopped

Supreme court stops field trials of genetically modified eggplant
By Virgil Lopez
Sun Star
May 13, 2012

MANILA — Cultivation of genetically modified eggplants–perceived to be dangerous for human consumption–will be put on hold after the Supreme Court issued a writ of kalikasan in favor of petitioners led by environment group Greenpeace.

Details of the writ issued last Friday however were kept private by Greenpeace while the High Court has yet to post the resolution on its website.

“As per advice of our lawyer, we cannot share the copy with the media. Basically, the writ is for respondents to justify the field trials. I cannot go into the details for now,” Daniel Ocampo, sustainable agriculture campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in a text message to Sun.Star.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BT brinjal row

BT brinjal row: National Biodiversity Authority decides to prosecute Monsanto
By Savita Verma
India Today
April 17, 2012

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), the country’s biodiversity-preservation watchdog, has finally woken up to its job.

It has decided to prosecute multinational seed company Monsanto for allegedly using Indian brinjal varieties for commercial purposes without permission.

The decision was taken in a vote at a meeting on February 28, 2012. The majority of the members voted in favour of initiating action against Monsanto for violating India’s biodiversity law.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, too, is in favour of prosecuting the seed giant.

The vote was essential as some board members of the NBA were against holding Monsanto to task, sources said.

The decision is bound to send a clear cut message that any attempt to fiddle with the country’s biological wealth will not go unpunished.

[Read More…]

Friday, April 13, 2012

GM trials hit hurdle

States say no, GM trials hit hurdle
By Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
April 13, 2012

India’s biotechnology regulator will be apprising the state governments of benefits of Genetically Modified (GM) food crops as country’s biotechnology industry is hitting a roadblock because of many states saying no to GM crops.

The latest in the list is Congress ruled Rajasthan which has refused to allow field trials of GM crops. ”No trials of GM crops should be conducted in the State until final decision in this matter is taken,” said an order issued by state government. ”The government, after considering different aspects of it, has taken a view to wait until a national consensus is evolved.”

Like many other state governments Rajasthan government also felt that unless the Central government decides on the fate of GM food crops such as BT Brinjal, on whose commercial release environment ministry issued a moratorium in 2010, the field trials may not be allowed.

Most of the bigger states such as Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had refused to give no-objection certificate for field trials.

[Read More…]

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