Monsanto Charged with Bio-pirarcy For GM Eggplant

Photo: India Today - Click photo to enlarge

India’s Biological Diversity Act (BDA), enacted in 2002, has apparently been violated by Monsanto in their efforts to create a genetically modified (GM) eggplant.  The BDA requires that any entity attempting to use a native plant for commercial or research purposes must first get approval from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA); the Act is in force specifically to protect the nation’s biodiversity.

This is not the first time Monsanto has been in the news for its’ GM foods and the related controversy surrounding labeling of GM ingredients is growing daily.  Monsanto, the world’s leader in genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds, and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company,  are being sued for using local varieties of the country’s eggplant to develop a genetically modified version.

From India Today’s full story:   “American seed giant Monsanto and its Indian collaborator, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) are to be prosecuted for allegedly ‘stealing’ indigenous plant material for developing genetically modified brinjal variety known as Bt brinjal.

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a statutory body set up under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, has decided to initiate legal proceedings against the two companies and their collaborators for using indigenous brinjal germplasm without necessary permission. Taking plant material without any permission and using it for commercial purposes is considered an act of biopiracy.”

This is the first time a government has accused Monsanto of bio-piracy.  The outcome of this trial may very well set a precedent for the future of the food supply.  Will large corporations be able to steal and profit from other countries’ native plants without compensation?  Are genetically modified (GM) foods and ingredients something you would like to see labeled in order for you to make you own informed decisions?