Processing Magazine

India Rejects Monsanto GMO Seeds

February 9, 2010
According to Bloomberg, India’s government has rejected the nation’s first genetically modified food after protests by farmers, hampering the expansion of seed makers including Monsanto Co. in the world’s second-most populous nation. Monsanto supplied the gene for eggplant and also introduced genetically modified cotton in India eight years ago. The seeds had been genetically modified by the Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Ltd., known as Mahyco, in which St. Louis-based Monsanto has a 26 percent stake. A gene known as cry1Ac from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, and sourced from Monsanto has been introduced to help it fend off common borer pests. Maharashtra Hybrid said in a statement it respected the ministry’s decision and will follow the government’s directives. “Mahyco is confident that sound science based on evidence obtained over nine years of rigorous testing will prevail,” the company said. Brinjal is a staple that India also exports to the U.K., France, Germany, Hong Kong, and Canada, according to the National Horticulture Board. While the U.S. and Canada have grown genetically modified crops like corn and soybean for years, resistance remains strong in Europe, where some countries rejected the use of crops changed to increase resistance to drought, pests or specific herbicides. Germany’s BASF SE has had a GM starch potato stuck in the European Union’s approval process for 14 years.