Study shows Mahycos Bt brinjal is unsafe

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 11 2009, 03:37am hrs
An independent analysis of Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Companys (Mahyco) Bt brinjal bio-safety data revealed that it was unsafe for human consumption.

The finding was based on the dossiers submitted by the seed company in its application to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) requesting for commercial release of Bt brinjal.

The study was submitted by a team headed by Gilles-Eric Sralini of France-based Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) which concluded that Bt brinjal might be a serious risk to human and animal health.

The study noted, The parameters affected in animals fed with Bt brinjal are in blood cells or chemistry, but in different manners according to the period of measurement during the study or sex. In goats, the prothrombin time is modified and biochemical parameters such as total bilirubin and alkaline phosphates are also changed, as well as feed consumption and weight gain. For rabbits, less consumption was noted and also prothrombin time modification, higher bilirubin in some instances, albumin, lactose dehydrogenase and the hepatic markers alanine and aspartate aminotransferases. Sodium levels were also modified, as well as glucose, platelet count, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit value. In cows, milk production and composition changed by 10%-14% .

Rats which were GM-fed had diarrhoea, had higher water consumption, suffered from decrease in liver weight as well as decrease in the relative liver to body weight ratio. Feed intake was modified in broiler chickens with glucose in some instances. Average feed conversion and efficiency ratios are changed in GM-fed fish. All that makes a very coherent picture of Bt brinjal to be potentially unsafe for human consumption. It will be also potentially unsafe to eat animals who have these problems. These differences are most often not reported in the summaries of different experiments, but are present in the raw data, the study added.

According to the study, these differences were, when discussed, disregarded often on the grounds that they were within the range of a wide reference group. The reference group represents a wide range of brinjal types and is not a strict comparison. Other reasons for disregarding the differences were that they did not show linear dose response or time response, or that they were only present in either males or females, but not both. Such declarations that the differences seen were not of biological relevance and unsubstantiated by the data presented from the feeding trials.

Clear and significant differences were seen to increase food safety concerns and warrant further investigation. Bt brinjal cannot be considered as safe as its non-GM counterpart, the study concluded.