Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Congratulations on your Victory: TN Agriculture Council bill withdrawn

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your mails.

The CM had announced that he is holding the bill. That means he is not sending the bill to the Governor for his approval.

Till then the bill is, in fact hangs on. The bill could be withdrawn through another resolution in the assembly. We all should send mails, faxes and letters to the CM to withdraw it completely. Don't forget to thank him.

I am hopeful that the CM will do it. Yet we cannot be complacent.

This success is in fact a great victory for collective actions and the support of Press. This is not the work of my self (R.Selvam) alone. I share your congrats to every one.

We should bring every section of the society in the GM issue also. If all work collectively we could win. We have the strength. Let us chanelise our strength.

Thank you friends,

on behalf of


Companies should follow MTR's lead

Greenpeace volunteers dressed up as “traditional messengers”, unfurled a massive 6x4 feet scroll, which read, “Well Done MTR”, while handing over a Kannada copy of Safe Food Guide to their representative.

MTR is the only food company in India to have a comprehensive policy on GMOs. In an official response to Greenpeace, MTR Foods Ltd. stated, “We have a policy to use 100% natural ingredients and hence GM items are unacceptable.”

Various studies by independent scientists across the world have shown evidence suggesting that GM foods could be harmful to health, especially in the long run, and in ways that are yet unknown. Lab rats fed with GM food showed increased levels of liver and kidney toxicity, increased vulnerability to food allergies and low levels of immunity.

Greenpeace India launched the Safe Food Guide, earlier this week, which categorises 17 food companies operating in India into a ‘red list’ and a ‘green list’ based on their responses to Greenpeace regarding their policy on the use of GM ingredients in their food products.

PepsiCo, Dabur, Haldirams, ITC Foods and Ruchi Soya stated that that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients in their foods as of today. Hence these companies made it to the ‘green’ list.Of all the companies, Nestlé (along with HUL and others)are on the other end of the spectrum in the ‘red list’.

“Responsible companies across the world are taking proactive steps and adopting a GM-free policy. Indian consumers should not be treated as lab rats for GM food to be experimented upon. Nestle has gone GM free in Europe, Russia and Brazil. Therefore, it is time that Nestlé stops violating its own policy in India and declares itself GM free,” demanded Shah.

Since the release of the guide, over 7,000 consumers have already started demanding that Nestlé India goes GM free and have sent emails to Mr. Antonio Wazcyk who will take over as Chairman and Managing Director, Nestlé India from October 2009.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TNSAC bill on Hold-Let us rejoice victory with a thanks to the CM

It is really a pleasant surprise to many as there was not demos, no agitations, no slogan raisings, etc. Yet the CM announced that the bill will be on hold at present.

It looked like there was no great uproar here.

But a kind of pressure was built on the government through editorials, articles, press releases, post card campaign and more over the collective voice of all main stream farmers organisations, the press meets of Vandana Shiva, Claude, Satheesh the meeting of Devinder, etc. The support and actions of NGOs like LESIA, WOMEN COLLECTIVE,WOMEN FORUM, TN Environment Council, CREATE, FEDCOT and many others had played a very decisive role.

At the latter part the political parties slowly realised the facts and started to react. Dr.Ramadass of PMK, Com. Mahendran of CPI, Com.K.Balakrishnan, all had expressed solidarity with the farmers association and has started to carry out independent and collective actions.

Junior Vikatan and Pasumai Vikatan - magazines from the respected press group Vikatan did interviews from farmer leaders and articles, Down to Earth carried an article, Dinamani ( of The Indian Express Group) carried an editorial and two editorial page articles, the Kumudam Reporter's columnist and senior journo wrote about the act and GM crops in two issues, farmer leaders sent memoranda through District Collector all had made greater impact on the govt.


(In fact it is a half victory only. The govt. had announced that it will put the bill on hold. It should pass another resolution in the assembly to withdraw it. We all should be vigilant at the time of next assembly session to press the withdrawal.)


The Chief Minister's office fax and mail: Fax 91-44-25671441


on behalf of


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greenpeace raises GM alert on top Indian foods

Food products of Nestlé, Cadbury, Kellogg, Britannia, and Safal are among a ‘red list’ in a guide on GM-free food released by Greenpeace in New Delhi on September 8, 2009.

The ‘Safe Food Guide’ is a first of its kind in India, and ranks 16 well-known food brands.

The guide comes at a time when the Indian Government is on the verge of approving genetically modified Bt Brinjal.

Following-Bt Brinjal, there are close to 40 other food crops, like rice, tomato, mustard, and potato, which the Indian Government may approve.

“The safety of GM crops as a foodstuff for animals and humans is unknown and the testing regimes are inadequate. Studies on lab rats show potential health risks including allergies, abnormal growth of liver and kidney and many unpredictable effects. Therefore, this guide plays an important role in informing consumers,” Jai Krishna, GM Markets Campaigner, Greenpeace India, said while releasing the guide.

The guide also comes in a pocket-sized version and lists companies based on their responses to Greenpeace India.

Companies like MTR, Dabur, Haldiram’s, ITC Foods, PepsiCo India, and Ruchi Soya are in the ‘green list’ based on their stand that their products are GM-free as of today.

In the ‘red list’ are Nestlé, Hindustan Unilever, Kellogg, Cadbury, Agro Tech Foods Ltd, FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd (a unit of Bharti Enterprises), Bambino Agro Industries Ltd, Britannia Industries Ltd, Godrej Hershey Foods, Parle, and Safal.

Bejon Misra, Managing Trustee, Healthy You Foundation, received the first copy of the guide.

“It is an excellent tool for the consumers to become aware about GMOs. This initiative by Greenpeace has brought these positions of food brands in the open. This would empower consumers to make an informed choice,” Misra said.

Greenpeace demands that: i) food businesses adopt a no-GM policy, because of the risks to health and environment, and ii) take proactive steps to inform consumers about the presence or absence of GM ingredients in their products.

Notes to the editor:

1. Download the Safe Food Guide: A consumer's guide to GM free food

2. Download the Safe Food Pocket Guide