The Indian Bt Brinjal Controversy: Genetically Modified Food, Legal & Regulatory Framework

SSRN Electronic Journal 09/2010; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1682914

ABSTRACT Bacillus thuringiensis Brinjal, popularly known as Bt brinjal, was at the centre of a major controversy in India recently. Bt brinjal, a genetically modified strain created by India's number one seeds company Mahyco in collaboration with American multinational Monsanto, claims to improve yields and help the agriculture sector. However, the debate over the safety of Bt brinjal continues with mixed views from scientists working for the government, farmers and environment activists. It is also said that Bt Brinjal will harm the environment along with other unforeseen effects including safety of the consumers. The paper focuses on a complete overview of Bt Brinjal and the environmental effects of genetically modified crops in light of the Bt Brinjal controversy. There is evidence that GM crops pose legal and economic risks. It could, for example, result in many, many farmers growing the same crop, which could result in vast amounts of food being lost to one overlooked disease or natural disaster. Also, huge bioengineering companies like Monsanto are suing small farmers because they were supposedly using GM corn that was resistant to the herbicide Roundup without a license from Monsanto. The result is a huge legal mess. Clearly GM crops have a lot of problems and kinks that need to be sorted out. Countries may promote GM crops or ban them. There are reasons justifying each action. This paper focuses on the GM food legal and regulatory framework and the developments on the issue in India.

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