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ARE GE CROPS SAFE

Would you like to eat Bt. Tomatoes, Bt. Cauliflower and Bt. Vegetables when you know they produce a toxin used to kill bacteria Would you be convinced if you were told that the toxin quantity was very little, and would not harm you If your answer is no, say no to genetically engineered Bt. Crops.

This was the focus of Dr. Suman Sahai, director of NGO Gene Campaign, who came to TSJ as a guest faculty on September 3,2008. She spoke at length about genetically engineered crops and their harms to mankind.

India does not have a clear policy for genetic engineering and the research work is not very advanced. We use the foreign Bt. Technology in our plants also. But this has lead to many concerns regarding the safety of the food products. There have been cases in other countries like the USA where people have suffered from allergic reactions after consuming genetically engineered food. A study on rats that were given genetically modified potatoes in U.S. showed them suffering from allergic reactions and thus proved that they are not fully safe.

Another important factor concerning the safety of GE crops is that we are not very sure of their long term affects right now. As a technology, GE is only a twenty year old technology and so we can not be sure about the results. When you are doing genetic engineering, you are upsetting laws of thousands of years of evolution, and so it is not always possible to predict the final result or stability of the product. His is another safety concern related to it.

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