By: Jonathan L. Mayuga
Published: Business Mirror, November 21, 2012

Photo credit: Piccadilly Pink

The government should ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country, Indian scientist Dr. Tushar Chakraborty said on Wednesday.

In a press conference organized by Greenpeace, Chakraborty, the principal scientist of the Gene Regulation Laboratory—Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, said banning of GMOs in the Philippines is the most prudent, science-based approach to the “uncertainties” surrounding GMO crop technologies.

He also said GMO crops, like the insect-resistant Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) eggplant and the so-called golden rice, pose significant risks to human health and the environment.

Greenpeace had invited Chakraborty as an expert witness in the ongoing Writ of Kalikasan hearings at the Supreme Court to help substantiate its claims that GMOs are unstable and unsafe to be planted, processed and eaten.

“GMOs are not safe, have not been independently tested and have not undergone long-term studies,” Chakraborty said. He also said the country needed to put in place a more stringent regulatory system and equip its regulatory body with experts and state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and gadgets to ensure the safety of GMOs being tested here.

The scientist cited the decision in a landmark case in India last month that called for a 10-year moratorium on GMOs due to safety concerns.

He was one of hundreds of Indian scientists who came out to support the call for a ban on GMO food crops in the subcontinent.

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