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GM Mustard, The Risks and Threats


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GM Crops and GM Mustard must be banned.

Published in: Health & Medicine
  • very good one
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  • I feel that vested interests who feel their low yielding crops will become unprofitable are opposing new breed of Crops like GM which give much higher yield per hectare. I don;t agree that GM like crops are bad.
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  • GM crop is like RakthBhijaSur. Every drop that falls on the ground gives rise to a new demon.
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  • @.Pradip Kumar Pathy GM Mustard trials have not been permitted by Haryana. Punjab is the only state that had permitted GM Mustard trials but even Punjab has said no now.
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GM Mustard, The Risks and Threats

  1. 1. Your Food is at Risk!
  2. 2. Coalition for a GM-Free India Delhi University’s GM Mustard Risks and Threats
  3. 3. Your Food is at Risk!
  4. 4. Background  As per media reports, a Genetically Modified Mustard variety is on the verge of commercial cultivation in India  The objective of this Presentation is to facilitate an informed public debate about this GMO – GM Mustard hybrid DMH 11 or DU’s GM Mustard.  Bt Brinjal debate followed by an indefinite Moratorium on GMOs in 2010  BRAI Bill for setting up of an independent, single window regulator for easy and speedy clearances of GM crops tabled in 2013 Scientists to Submit GM Mustard Report to Government. May 19th 2015. Reuters Business News. accessed on May 28, 2015
  5. 5.  2002 – BT Cotton introduced in India  2002 - GM Mustard by ProAgro a subsidary of Bayer rejected by Indian regulators due to various concerns  Only one GM Crop BT Cotton cultivated commercially in India. Developers call it a commercial success. Many reports have linked BT Cotton to farmer suicides, however  Many GM Crops like Corn, Soya, Wheat, Brinjal, okra, Potato, Sorghum etc. under field trials in India  Oct 2009 - GEAC approved BT Brinjal for commercial cultivation  Feb 2010 - Decision overturned by MoEF and an indefinite moratorium imposed on GM Crops, post public consultations in 7 cities, citing insufficient safety data on BT Brinjal
  6. 6.  Public Sector GM Mustard is a Trojan horse to clear the doorway for private sector GM Crops belonging to powerful companies like Monsanto.  Monsanto’s stated objective – “By 2020, no food shall be grown that we do not own”.  Politics of food control via seed patenting and IPRs.  Perceived as a threat to national sovereignty as powerful nations dictate food policies, food stocks and food subsidies of developing nations via FTAs and WTO policies unlike ever before.
  7. 7. 2002- Two years after the first big harvests of RR soy (GM) in Argentina, serious health effects including high rates of birth defects as well as infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages, and cancers were reported. Source: Fr. Peter’s Environmental Notes False claims around yield and pesticide usage Increased Pesticide Usage Farmer suicides unabated. 10 years of Bt cotton in India– False Hype and Failed Promises, Serious Health effects In GM Corn and Soya cultivated areas Canola Oil is not healthy Jivo asked to withdraw the advertisements Making unsubstantiated claims regarding Health benefits of Canola oil in Dec 2014 gmo-and-allergies RO Vles and others. Nutritional Evaluation of Low-Erucic-Acid Rapeseed Oils. Toxicological Aspects of Food Safety, Archives of Toxicology, Supplement 1, 978:23-32
  8. 8.  Brassica (rapeseed/mustard) is the most important edible oilseed crop in India.  Lowest amounts of saturated fatty acids and contain adequate amounts of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids.  Conversion rate from seeds to oil is 33%. (Higher than other oilseeds like Soyabean, Groundnut etc.  Conversion rate to oilseed cake (used for cattle feed as well as soil fertility input) is 67%.
  9. 9. 1950-51 3.68 Quintals/ha (irrigation data not available) 1990-91 9.04 Quintals/ha (under irrigation) 2012-13 12.62 Quintals/ha (under irrigation) Rajasthan 48.12% Madhya Pradesh 11.31% Haryana 11.06% Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Punjab are other important mustard producing states Main Mustard producing States Gujarat – a whopping 16.95 quintals/ha in 2012-13 Agricultural Statistics at a Glance 2014. Table 4.18(b). pp111. Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. Average Yields
  10. 10. Indian Mustard is not just an oil seed, it is also a vegetable crop Main Reasons for the 2010 Bt Brinjal /GM food Moratorium 1) Chronic Toxicity 2) Lack of Independent Credible Testing 3) An independent regulatory body
  11. 11.  Mustard and its uses are documented in Ayurvedic literature like Caraka Saṃhitā, Suśruta Saṃhitā, Bhela Saṃhitā and Kāśyapa Saṃhitā.  Medicinal properties are ascribed to it in the ancient texts of Atharva Veda.  The applications of mustard seeds, oil and leaves in diet and medicine have been indisputably established in Ayurvedic practice.  The numerous uses and benefits are beyond the scope of the current presentation
  12. 12. 70 Crores of public money has been spent on development of GM Mustard. If approved more would be spent on promotion, quite possibly via public schemes.  The yields of hybrid varieties developed via traditional systems are equivalent or more than this GM Mustard.  The Ministry of Agriculture has recently standardized the seed production technology of Indian mustard hybrid NRC Sankar Sarson which yields 2.4 tonnes per hectare. Ref:  Agronomic practices like System of Mustard Intensification can yield up to 2.5 tonnes to 3 tonnes per hectare. When all principles of SRI were used, yields touched 4 tonnes per hectare! (Such evidence has been collected from experience of around 1600 farmers, with government machinery supporting the effort in Bihar)
  13. 13.  Warped Import Policies - Duties have been cut drastically from a bound rate of 300 per cent to almost zero now, encouraging cheaper imports of various edible oils.  Possibly as a consequence of such cheap imports, an average Indian consumes double the edible oil recommended by doctors in their caution against health problems like cardiac illnesses Policy Solutions  Raising import tariffs to stop cheap edible oil from flooding the market  Providing an economic price to mustard farmers  Proper processes for procurement of Mustard produce
  14. 14. “The matter for permitting trials of transgenic crops has indeed been fraught with concerns as no unanimity has arrived at, either in their favour or against them. The government has taken a view to wait until a national consensus is evolved. It has also been decided that discussions should be held with all stake holders and to reach to a general agreement on the controversy.” Government of Rajasthan on withdrawing the NOC  Agriculture is a state subject.  Haryana – No NOC for GM mustard trials so far.  Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan do not want trials of GM Mustard.  2012 - Rajasthan state government withdrew its NOC and issued directions for terminating the trials by burning the crops.
  15. 15. The claims, technology and testing processes are similar to DU’s GM mustard. The rationale used by the regulators in 2002/3 remains pertinent irrespective of public or private sector genesis of the GMO.  Health safety not established. No safety data on mustard leaf was provided.  LIES ABOUT YIELD: The yield increase as per ICAR was only 5% and not in the 16- 23% range over he best check Varuna in different GM hybrids as claimed.  LIES ABOUT POLLEN FLOW: ICAR Showed pollen flow upto 75 metres more than double of the 35 metres reported by the company.  The use of Bar gene as a marker gene, increased weediness and consequent use of more toxic persistent herbicides.  Mustard being an edible crop, important policy issues related to labeling, traceability etc not established GEAC in 2003 The conclusions were based on the data presented by the company, without any independent scrutiny, fresh data analysis or evaluation.
  16. 16. Pollinators and Honey Bees • Mustard is Highly attractive to Bees. • GM crops impact non-target organisms like honey bees and butterflies. • Pollinators are vital to farm productivity • Bee presence is lowest in GM fields. • Organic fields three times more abundance • Genetic Engineering process brings about both qualitative and quantitative changes in nectar or pollen composition as well as interference in the plant biochemical pathways that potentially impact pollinators • Lora A Morandin and Mark L Winston (2005): Wild bee abundance and seed production in conventional, organic and genetically modified canola. Ecological Applications 15:871-81
  17. 17. •GM Mustard is a matter of great concern as it would impact the pollinators •Bharatpur is the second largest honey collecting areas in India. Exactly the same yield increase has been reported in GM Mustard, Bharatpur Field Trials!
  18. 18. GM Mustard similarly uses the technology of herbicide tolerance even if garbed as high-yielding. This is particularly dangerous in the Indian context where there is almost no end-use regulation of agro-chemicals.
  19. 19. DU’s GM Mustard is also herbicide tolerant. Similar Barnase Barstar system has been used to create GM Mustard seralini-study-shows-roundup- damages-sperm/
  20. 20.  Round-up Ready GM crops use herbicides  Super Weeds  Horrific Birth defects, reproductive disorders Chaco, Argentina  Congenital malformations in newborns in Paraguay caused by Glyphosate exposure.  Glyphosate - Endocrine disruption, non- Hodgkin’ s Lymphoma, Nervous system disorder, Parkinson’s disease etc.  A direct toxic effect on amphibians, aquatic animals and the entire environment  Glufosinate toxic to pollinators and beneficial insects EFSA (2005) * *Conclusion regarding the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance: glufosinate. Europ ean FoodSafetyAuthority. EFSA Scientific Report 27: 1- - 81. r.pdf. dysmorphogenic+effects+of+glufosinate+ammonium +on+ mouse+embryos+in+culture ; Check pp41-65 for herbicides’ impacts in this compilation:
  21. 21.  Mustard is Both Self and Cross Pollinating Plant.  Tiny Seeds easily carried away by wind  Contamination Possibilities over short and long distance through cross pollination via bees and other carriers.  Seeds remain viable for years and could be transferred through Feral plants and other volunteers.  The cultivation, even field trials of GM threatens other varieties of the crop. This would endanger the availability of safe and Organic Mustard, permanently and irrevocably Deepak Pental to journalists of DTE magazine ““it is wrong to claim that transgenes won’t move to non-transgenic material. If you have a selection over it like a herbicide, then they spread very quickly “ “ the non-transgenic Brassica juncea as well as Brassica rapa that is grown in eastern India can ‘receive’ these genes. An End of Choice to Farmers and Consumers. The cultivation, even field trials of GM threatens other varieties of the crop. Mustard is especially susceptible, This would endanger the availability of safe and Organic Mustard. GM Mustard Fild Trials Flout SC Orders Even though ICAR found contamination at 75 meters in the case of Pro-Agro’s GM mustard, the isolation distance prescribed at present for GM mustard trials is only 50 meters. Contamination Risks
  22. 22. The cultivation of GM Mustard will threaten all other varieties of Mustard with contamination. This would endanger the availability of safe and Organic Mustard, permanently and irrevocably.  2002-GM oilseed Rape got imported into France from the Canada.  2004-Japanese port areas as well as prefectures far from the import locations contaminated with GM rapeseed Unauthorized GM mustard growth was found along railway lines along borders with Italy and France, till oilseed processing factories in Switzerland.  Organic Rapeseed cultivation not possible in Canada due to large scale contamination  2008- GM oilseed rape cross-fertilised with a distantly related weed plant, charlock, discovered in a follow up study after 2 years of a 3-year research! Unauthorized GM material. Found in conventional variety.  2010-GM Herbicide Tolerance (both glyphosate and glufosinate) discovered in wild plants n North Dakota., introduced into nature without intent or approval.  2012/13- GM contaminations discovered in S.Korea and Switzerland. GM Rapeseed cultivation is not authorised in these countries
  23. 23.  Many instances of farmers being sued by companies like Monsanto.  1998-Schmeiser an organic canola farmer for 40 years was sued along with numerous other farmers by Monsanto for patent infringement. Most farmers settled but Schmeiser won after a 10 year legal battle. Monsanto was found guilty of contamination and releasing GM Crops in nature without control.  2010- Steve Marsh, an Australian wheat farmer lost his organic status due to contamination from a neighbor’s GM canola field . Marsh lost , when the judge ruled that the neighbor could not be held responsible. The case has gone on appeal to a higher court in 2015. Its apparent that GM rapeseed-mustard would be impossible to contain – biologically, it would contaminate non-GM varieties apart from crossing with wild relatives; it would spread as physical admixtures to unexpected and distant locations too. * * Becky Price and Janet Cotter (2014): The GM Contamination Register: A review of recorded contamination incidents associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), 1997-2013. International Journal of Food Contamination. October 2014. 1:5.
  24. 24.  India is a signatory to the Cartagena protocol, 2000 and has committed to protect the Centre of Diversity from GM Crop contamination. This was one of the reasons for the BT Brinjal moratorium amongst many others.  India has a tremendous Mustard diversity. The Directorate of Rapeseed- Mustard Research (DRMR) alone has 1868 accessions of Indian Mustard. Further, around 12755 accessions of rapeseed-mustard are available in India.  Although its been established* that India is the Centre of Diversity of Mustard, attempts are being made to prove otherwise.  The Supreme Court’s TEC, in its majority report, in the year 2013 had asked for GM research to be stopped for all those crops for which India is the Centre of Origin and/or Diversity. *R S Paroda and R K Arora (Eds) (1991): Plant Genetic Resources – Conservation and Management. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources. bioversity/publications/Web_version/174/ch05.htm
  25. 25.  History of bending rules and norms, and compromising on bio-safety assessment.  Public sector Bt cotton variety is mired in an ownership controversy and lead to its withdrawal.* * Sopory Committee report  A 2007 Supreme Court order has specified zero tolerance for contamination for GMOS The GEAC has been lax with bio-safety measures for GM Mustard, for instance prescribing only a 50-metre isolation for the trials Neha Kunjwal, Yogesh Kumar and M S Khan (2014): Flower visiting insect pollinators of Brown Mustard Brassica juncea (L.) Czern and Coss and their foraging behavior under caged and open pollination. African Journal of Agricultural Research. Vol. 9(16), pp.1278-86  Processes for Trials of Non GM Seeds are more rigorous than the the ones used for GM Mustard Is health and food safety less important if crop is developed by a Public Sector entity?
  26. 26. Have the BRL II trials been approved in the absence of satisfactory safety data?  Supreme court orders ignored  Data on field trials not available in public domain  Testing regime not in place  GEAC functioning very opaquely withholding minutes of the meeting etc.  RTI applications turned down repeatedly. If the safety trials were indeed satisfactory, then why the secrecy?
  27. 27. The developer of GM Mustard Mr. Deepak Pental has court cases and negative charges pending against him.  Department of Science and Technology revealed that it has no idea where the GM lines in this high profile case came from, and who gave permission for research. Delhi University’s Gene Mystery.* *Latha Jishnu in Down To Earth. February 15th 2015. universitys-gene-mystery accessed on May 30, 2015  Pental is the official applicant and crop developer in the case of the GM mustard that has reached BRL II stage. The developer has plagiarism charges against him .  A court case with charges on the developer of this GM Mustard for using such ‘hazardous material’ without regulatory approval and for stealing GM seeds from the laboratory of another Delhi University Professor called P Pardha Saradhi .The case is against Pental and Prasad, for Prasad stealing seed of CodA transgenic Indian mustard.
  28. 28. The dangerous and unsustainable GM technology must be banned. Organic Farming What are you going to do?