For the first time in the last 16 years, regulatory authorities approved to conduct trials for a GMO food crop. As genetically modified (GMO) foods are starting to intrude into our diet concerns have been expressed regarding GMO food safety.
The top biotech companies involved in GMO research are Monsanto (Bayer), BASF, Syngenta & Dupont. Yes, these are popular pesticide manufacturers as well.
More GMOs ~ more chemical use
Many GMO crops are specifically engineered to resist certain weed killers, so planting GMOs means that farmers end up using the associated chemicals, and using them in more ways when they use GMO crops. Those chemicals end up in the environment and threaten the health of farmers, as well as the communities they live in.
What’s even worse is that, because of increased chemical use, the pests are catching up. Over time, weeds and insects evolve a resistance to the chemicals we use against them. The more we use them, the faster they adapt. Many common herbicides are no longer effective on our farms, which leaves biotech companies to encourage the use of harsher chemicals, which the pests will eventually adapt to… leading to an arms race of dangerous chemicals where people and the environment will inevitably be the losers
Environmental concerns over GMO Cotton
The only GMO crop officially permitted in India is Cotton. As the GMO cotton’s gene is derived from the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria, it’s called Bt cotton.
Producing 1 kg of cotton in India requires 22,500 litres of water, compared to the global average of 10,000 litres. BTW, cotton is the most water-guzzling crop in the country.
Bt Cotton hybrids utilize more nutrients and water for higher yields and profits, therefore the soils are getting progressively depleted and need more nutrient recharging
As much as 55% of India’s pesticide expenditure is on cotton, which is grown on about 5% of India’s cropland.
Non Bt-Cotton seeds were deliberately removed from the market to ensure favourable conditions for Bt Cotton market capture
An increasing number of studies are showing problems with GMOs and their associated pesticides
Animal toxicity studies with certain GMO foods have shown that they may toxically affect several organs and systems
Some GMOs contain changes that make them resistant to certain antibiotics. In theory, the genes from these plants could enter humans or animals when they eat them. As a result, the person or animal could also develop antibiotic resistance over the period of time.
GMO food crops:
Various Indian research institutions are “deeply engaged” in the development of genetically modified seeds for 13 crops, including rice, wheat, and sugarcane to improve their yield.
The regulatory authority gave nod to conduct trials for GMO mustard very recently (The first approval in 16 years). It will not take much time for corporate companies to take it further by exploiting loopholes in the system. For example, although Bt Brinjal(eggplant) is discontinued officially, it’s easily available in many states.
Genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor necessary to feed the world. Spread the word. Public awareness is important