‘BT Brinjal: if it’s cheaper and safer, why not?’

Editorial in the Indian Express, Delhi:

“A certain visceral concern over GM food is understandable: after all, we will be expected to eat something that scientists have tinkered with. But that concern must, in the end, have to give way before solid facts.

“Bt brinjal has been thoroughly and comprehensively tested; perhaps even more compellingly, the theoretical science that backs up arguments for its safety remain unchallenged….

“In the United States, corn modified by the introduction of pest-resistant genetic strains from the bacteria Bacillus thuringensis — Bt — dominates the market, and has for years. Similarly modified soybeans and vegetable oils have also proved safe and cheap.

“In India, farmers have taken to Bt cotton in a big way — and paranoid fears that giant foreign combines would seek to make rapacious profits by exploiting small Indian farmers have not materialised. After all, nobody is likely to force Indian farmers to adopt the new variety: it merely adds to their options, and to the options facing the Indian consumer.

“Some will always remain unconvinced, or call ad infinitum for more and better and longer tests. They should not be able to veto the introduction of GM food forever…. A cautionary desire to placate the panicked and paranoid must not be allowed to outweigh the evidence.”

Read the full editorial: BT entreaty