Under SAGE banner a roundtable on Should Indians be fed with
g m food? was jointly organized by CREAT, DDS and Mysore Grahak
Parishad in Bangalore on 5th July 2006. This roundtable was organized
in protest against the recent slew of legislations that aims at according
access of genetically modified foods into Indian market and also to
express the pernicious ramifications thereof particularly on health
Eminent persons from all walks of life representing the scientific
and the academic community; consumers and civil society groups; farmers
unions; food and nutrition specialists. Lawyers and the media attended
the roundtable and extended their unconditional solidarity in the fight
against the menace of genetic engineering.
Experiences and views were shared; new insights were developed and
a declaration was was prepared against the intrusion of gm foods into
Indian markets and participatants abhorred the very idea of genetic
engineering and unequivocally rejected genetic engineering in all its
manifestations. The declaration prepared is attached below and the same
was submitted to Ministry of Health and Family affairs, To Food and
Consumer affairs, Government of India and aslo media.
The Bangalore Declaration, July 5, 2006
In a Round Table titled Should India be fed GM Food?
held at Bangalore, Karnataka on July 5, 2006, a 52 member group consisting
of six food scientists, nutrition experts and agricultural scientists,
two law specialists, a dozen eminent farmer leaders, twenty consumer
groups, half a dozen media people and six environmental NGOs thoroughly
discussed the GM Labelling Rules being proposed by your Ministry and
have come to the following conclusions:
We question the need to allow import of Genetically engineered foods,
and wonder what is the current necessity to facilitate these imports
at all? Is it to give more nutritious food to Indian people or to ensure
their food security? On both counts the need of these imports is highly
As food, nutrition and agriculture scientists in the group,
As farmers we are convinced that
As consumers in the group
- We do not want any kind of labelling. We totally reject GE food
and GE technology, since we all know that authentic alternatives already
exist in this country including organic, traditional systems of food
- The proposed amendment in the name of biosafety undertaken by the
government is totally anti farmer, anti people and anti environment.
We are of the opinion that the labelling order being pushed down our
throats without any large debates and discussions is definitely an
effort to promote GE and prop up the MNCs involved in GE.
- We want to emphasise that food and nutritional security of this
country can only be achieved if the knowledge of crop production is
integral to the community. In our traditional systems this knowledge
is located and distributed within the community and therefore it carries
a distinct social and economic advantage over GE crops which is a
centralised, proprietary knowledge system and must be viewed within
the framework of IPR regime.
- Apart from externalising production knowledge, GE is also characterized
by a total externality of inputs. It is a market oriented technology
and has very little to do with the welfare of food consumers and food
producers. It can only be done in a monopolistic form of production
which will displace the farming community of this country, which is
almost 70% of our population. This will be a disaster of monumental
- We contest the idea that we have to keep on increasing food output
using GE to meet the food security of people. This is a total fallacy.
Traditional production systems have the capacity to produce enough
and more to address the food security of this nation.
- It is a great irony that while our government is happy to export
organic foods produced in this country, it is also trying to import
GE foods into the country. Through this policy process, we wonder
whether it is trying to create a “second class” of food
consumers in this country who should be fed with inferior GE foods
that are injurious to people’s health while superior organic
foods are exported.
- To overcome all these, we should concentrate on traditional food
systems which have all the nutritional, food and health security.
This centuries old organic system in this country will be killed if
we allow GE foods and technologies to take over.
- We want to warn the government that GE technology, besides tampering
with nature, through the contamination of crops which is inherent
to it, will irreparably damage our biodiversity and genetic resources
and pauperise the enormous genetic wealth of this country. Therefore
the government should never forget even for a moment that GE is internally
contaminant and its presence itself is the presence of contamination
and therefore whether it is labelled or not, will carry irreparable
damage to our agriculture and environment.
- We believe that a lot of the changes in our food and agricultural
policies are being done without any discussion with the people being
affected by those changes. Such policy changes made at the Centre
are contrary to the Constitution of the country where agriculture
is a State subject.
- We are horrified that the rights enumerated in the Consumer Protection
Act have not been represented in the current labelling efforts.
- We are completely opposed to GE technology per se. The lessons learnt
from other countries that have rejected GE foods have guided us to
come to this conclusion.
- We strongly urge that GE foods should not be imported until it
is conclusively proven safe.
- The regulatory mechanism available in the country such as GEAC,
Food Standards Council should be made more transparent and autonomous.
Currently they are captured by the industry. As consumers we oppose
GE food and GE technology thrust by such mechanisms.
In the light of all of the above, the Bangalore Declaration emanating
from the round table Should India be fed with GM Food,
in which food, nutrition and agricultural scientists, legal experts,
farmer leaders, consumer groups and environmentalists strongly opposes
the efforts to import GM foods, labelled or unlabelled, into this country.
The Bangalore Declaration strongly argues for a GM-Free India in the
interests of the health and nutrition of its population, food safety,
food security and the environmental integrity.
[P V SATHEESH]
On behalf of
MYSORE GRAHAKARA PATRIKA
A Mysore city based consumer organisation
SOUTH AGAINST GENETIC ENGINEERING
A coalition of 50 networks, individuals representing farmers, consumers,
academics, scientists, media practitioners and civil society groups
in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra