February 13, 2012


India attests Monsanto's illegal act in GM corn trials


Monsanto has illegally planted herbicide tolerant corn in its GM corn trial, as claimed by the Coalition for a GM-free India, a charge which the US-based agri biotech firm has denied.


According to the anti-GM (genetically modified) body, the information was revealed in a response of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to an RTI application.


The coalition also said that GEAC, the apex regulator that gives approval to field trials of GM crops, ignored the violation as the information was obtained through an RTI response from GEAC.


"This agri-business corporation (Monsanto) has been caught violating the law and norms repeatedly. The GEAC has also been caught failing in its duties. GEAC, in spite of violations brought to its notice earlier also, has never taken up any deterrent and penal action against this MNC," the coalition said in a statement.


Meanwhile, Monsanto has said that it had the approval from the GEAC.


"Monsanto's application along with protocol for bio safety research level II (BRL-II) trial of Monsanto's herbicide tolerant, insect resistant GM corn with stacked traits has been duly approved by the GEAC," a Monsanto spokesperson told PTI.


Additionally, the trial's protocol has been reviewed and confirmed by DMR (Directorate of Corn research). The trials have been conducted in accordance with the approved protocol, the spokesperson added.


A member of the anti-GM coalition Kavita Kuruganti citing the findings of the RTI said that a scientist from one of the monitoring teams pointed out that planting of the herbicide tolerant GM corn by Monsanto in its GM-corn trial took place without permission from competent authorities.


"What is more damning is that there is no evidence of any discussion or action by the regulators on this finding. This clearly demonstrates that the regulators are unconcerned about bio safety violations or contamination and are protecting and supporting offenders like Monsanto," Kuruganti said.

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