Hide this
GM Crop Field

Story at-a-glance +

  • A five-member Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court of India unanimously recommended that all GM field trials in India should be stopped until certain conditions have been met
  • The Committee also recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all Bt food crops and a moratorium on field trials of herbicide-tolerant crops until an independent assessment has evaluated its “impact” and “suitability”
  • Over the past 16 years, it’s estimated that more than a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide after being convinced to plant Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) seeds (especially Bt cotton), then having their crops fail, leaving them in financial ruin
  • Evidence demonstrates that the claims made that GM foods are safe and beneficial to the environment simply aren’t true
  • Americans are currently being kept in the dark regarding GM foods, as they are not labeled despite being found in upwards of 80 percent of processed foods; California stands poised to vote on Proposition 37, which would require GM foods to be labeled, on November 6

All GM Field Trials in India to be Stopped

October 30, 2012 | 42,043 views
Share This Article Share

By Dr. Mercola

One week from today California voters will vote on Prop 37 and we will see if truth will win out over corporate greed, and hopefully people will finally be given the right to know what is in their food.

The state of affairs in India with respect to GM foods is further validation of the importance of labeling GM foods with Prop 37 in California.

Over the past 16 years, it's estimated that more than a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide after being convinced to plant Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) seeds (especially Bt cotton), then having their crops fail, leaving them in financial ruin.

Earlier this year, India's National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, sued Monsanto, the world leader in GM crops and seeds, and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, for biopiracy, accusing them of stealing local varieties of eggplant to develop a genetically modified version.

It seems now that the country may have had enough, and is citing the precautionary principle in their announcement that all GM field trials should be stopped until certain conditions have been met.

India to Ban Field Trials of GM Crops

In October 2012, a five-member Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court of India unanimously recommended that all GM field trials in India should be stopped until the following conditions have been met:1

  • Specific sites for conducting field trials have been designated and certified and sufficient mechanisms for monitoring the trials put in place.
  • A panel of scientists, qualified in evaluation of the biosafety data of GM crops, has been engaged for scrutiny and analyses of the safety data.
  • Conflict of interest in the regulatory body has been removed.
  • The requirement for preliminary biosafety tests prior to field trials including sub-chronic toxicity in small animals has been included.

Two other noteworthy recommendations were also included in the TEC report:

  • A 10-year moratorium on field trials of all Bt food crops, based on the overall status of current food safety evaluations for these crops (including data on Bt cotton and Bt eggplant)
  • A moratorium on field trials of herbicide-tolerant crops until an independent assessment has evaluated its "impact" and "suitability"

It seems India is poised to join the ranks of those countries who do not want to use their population and land as guinea pigs to test out GM crops... others who have said "no" to GMOs (genetically modified organisms) include:2

New Zealand: No GM foods are grown there Switzerland: No GM crops, animals and plants until 2013
Germany: No GM corn Madeira: This small Portuguese island has a ban on GM crops
Ireland: GM crops were banned for cultivation in 2009, and foods containing GM foods can be voluntarily labeled as such Japan: No GM seeds are planted in the country (but wild contamination from imported GM canola have been found growing near ports)
France: Asked the European Commission to suspend Monsanto's authorization to plant GM MON 810 corn, but the EU stepped in and blocked the ban Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria and Luxembourg: All have bans on both cultivation and sale of GMOs

An Inside Look at India's Struggles With GM Crops

The film Bitter Seeds looks at the beginning of the consumer goods' supply chain – the raw materials – shedding much-needed light on the crisis created by Monsanto's genetically engineered Bt cotton.

The film features Manjusha Amberwar, an 18-year-old Indian village girl who wants to become a journalist in order to expose the severity of the problems caused by Monsanto's seed monopoly scheme. Farming debts claimed the life of her own father, a respected village leader. Manjusha interviews several families of local farmers who resorted to drinking pesticide. One of the village elders told her:

"In my time there were no suicides. Even the poor could survive by working hard. But there are no other seeds available now. Traditional seeds have disappeared. We farmers are illiterates. We follow false advertising like a dog follows bread."

What many still do not know is that farming has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Seeds have traditionally been saved and shared between farmers from one harvest season to the next. You rarely ever had to buy new seed. Nature, when left alone, provides you with the means to propagate the next harvest in a never-ending cycle.

In the 1970's, hybrid seeds were introduced into India, promising better yields using chemical fertilizers and insecticides. But it didn't take long before yields began to drop as the agricultural chemicals took their toll on the soils. Farm debts began driving Indian farmers to suicide in 1997, and it hasn't stopped since. In fact, matters have quickly gotten worse in the decade since Monsanto introduced its "revolutionary" Bt cotton, which cannot be saved or shared from season to season, but must be continually repurchased.

Genetically engineered seeds also require expensive agricultural chemicals, and more water – a commodity few farmers have access to unless it rains. Buried in debt and struggling against the rising cost of GM seeds and the chemicals required, combined with failing yields and GE-created super weeds and resistant pests, one Indian farmer now commits suicide every 30 minutes.

Are You Being Fed Lies?

You've probably heard that GM crops are safe and represent the "future of food" – a way to increase crop yields and feed the world. (That is, if you've heard anything at all... many people have heard precious little about GM foods, even though they're already in up to 80 percent of processed foods in the United States.)

Well, the authors of the report GMO Myths and Truths3 (who include Michael Antoniou, PhD, a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies, as well as John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GMO testing) took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, and came to the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increase yield potential do not support the claims made at all. In fact, the evidence demonstrates that the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown; they simply aren't true... The authors concluded GM crops:

  • Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GE crops
  • Can be toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
  • Do not increase yield potential
  • Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
  • Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant "superweeds," compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
  • Have mixed economic effects
  • Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
  • Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
  • Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
  • Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on

According to their report, there are three potential sources of adverse health effects from genetically engineered foods:

  1. The genetically modified gene product – for example, the Bt toxin in GM insecticidal crops may be toxic or allergenic
  2. The GM transformation process may produce mutagenic effects, gene regulatory effects, or effects at other levels of biological structure and function that result in new toxins or allergens and/or disturbed nutritional value
  3. Changes in farming practices linked to the use of a genetically modified organism may result in toxic residues – for example, higher levels of crop contamination with the herbicide Roundup are an inevitable result of using GM Roundup Ready® crops

Do You Eat These Common Sources of GM Foods?

If you live in the United States and want to avoid GM crops, it isn't easy because they are already in commercial production – and GM crops are not labeled. According to the Non-GMO Project, GM crops already in production in the U.S. include:4

Alfalfa (first planting 2011) Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop) Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011) Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres) Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010) Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres) Animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed


Common ingredients derived from these ubiquitous GM crops, which are added to the majority of U.S. processed foods, include:5

Amino Acids Aspartame Ascorbic Acid Sodium Ascorbate
Vitamin C Citric Acid Sodium Citrate Ethanol
Flavorings ("natural" and "artificial") High-Fructose Corn Syrup Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Lactic Acid
Maltodextrins Molasses Monosodium Glutamate Sucrose
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Xanthan Gum Vitamins Yeast Products

What Are GMOs?

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Recently, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) has reintroduced a bill (HR 1599) that would preempt states' rights to enact GMO labeling laws. This bill would create a federal government program to oversee guidelines for voluntary labeling of products that do not contain GMOs. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word "natural" on products that contain GMOs. TAKE ACTION NOW! Your local representatives need to hear from you! Please contact them today by CLICKING HERE.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Non-GMO Food Resources by Country

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
Alliance for Natural Health USA
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico