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Reports of Damage to Lab Animals from Monsanto's Corn Strengthens Anti-GMO Movement in India

Food for thought: Report reveals risks of GM items


NEW DELHI: Recent reports on rats fed with genetically-modified (GM) maize developing organ abnormalities and changes in the blood profile, seem to have strengthened the stand of those demanding a ban on GM-foods in India. Experts in India have called for a ban on the import of GM-food items into India as well as an overhaul of the draft biotechnology policy. These reports were apparently leaked from the research carried out by multinational food giant Monsanto.

The company has, however, refused to make its 1139-page report public, stating that it has 'confidential business information'.

According to Dr Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign, a forum for biotechnology and food security: "There is no system of checks in place. A lot of the soya and corn imported into the country may be genetically modified. All imported food items need to be tested for the presence of GM-foods," said Genetically-modified brinjal, cabbage, rice and even some spices may also make their way into the country soon. Considering that GM-food is costlier than normal food, Devinder Sharma of Gene Campaign questioned the logic behind importing it in a country like India. "It's not cheaper, not tastier, not even more nutritious. India has a buffer stock of 60 million tonnes. So the options for food security are many," he said.

When questioned about people in the US consuming such food regularly, he said: "That's where even the junk food has come from. Four lakh people die of obesity-related problems every year. Anything may happen with GM-foods five years down the line. Why must we ape them?"