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GMO-FREE REGIONS & POLICY: Protesters say no to BT Brinjal in a unique way



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   PROTESTERS SAY NO TO BT BRINJAL IN A UNIQUE WAY

SOURCE:  Hindustan Times, India

AUTHOR:  Rajat Arora

URL:     http://www.hindustantimes.com/Protesters-say-no-to-BT-Brinjal-in-a-unique-way/Article1-742464.aspx

DATE:    06.09.2011

SUMMARY: "The idea of BT Brinjal and genetically modified crops must be sounding delicious to the government, but it is not finding many takers in the farmlands and households. This is what Greenpeace, the NGO fighting against the introduction of genetically modified crops, claims. In a unique protest against BT Brinjal, Greenpeace, along with chefs of hotel Le Méridien, cooked 342 kg of organic brinjal bharta on Tuesday at Dilli Haat, making it a world record. Some bharta was also dispatched to Prime Minister?s house with a letter of protest."

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PROTESTERS SAY NO TO BT BRINJAL IN A UNIQUE WAY

The idea of BT Brinjal and genetically modified crops must be sounding delicious to the government, but it is not finding many takers in the farmlands and households. This is what Greenpeace, the NGO fighting against the introduction of genetically modified crops, claims. In a unique protest against BT Brinjal, Greenpeace, along with chefs of hotel Le Méridien, cooked 342 kg of organic brinjal bharta on Tuesday at Dilli Haat, making it a world record. Some bharta was also dispatched to Prime Minister?s house with a letter of protest.

?At Le Méridien, we believe in doing whatever we can to ensure safe food and a sustainable environment. We are happy that we could do our bit by joining this movement for safe food,? said Davinder Kumar, executive chef and vice-president (Food and Beverages), Le Méridien.

The record also found space in the Limca book of world. Renowned food show presenter Rocky Singh, who has extended his support to the cause said, ?Through this event, we want to spread the message that Indians should say no to genetically modified food and Biotechnology Regularity Authority of India Bill (BRAI), 2011, as such food is very dangerous for health.?

The activists pooled in over 200 kg of brinjals and 300 kg of spices and ingredients. ?Genetically modified food is poisonous and will also kill small farmers by creating a monopoly of a single seed manufacturing company,? said Kapil Mishra, sustainable agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace India. Many RWAs and farmers associations also joined the unique protest.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   GIANT BAIGAN KA BHARTA MAKES FOR A DELICIOUS RECORD

SOURCE:  The Times of India, India

AUTHOR:  Tamil News Network, India

URL:     http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Giant-Baigan-ka-Bharta-makes-for-a-delicious-record/articleshow/9890977.cms

DATE:    07.09.2011

SUMMARY: "To protest the tabling of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament, Greenpeace organized a cook in protest where a 342.5 kg dish was made from scratch with organic vegetables in Dilli Haat. A portion of the dish was delivered to the Prime Minister?s residence along with a petition containing the signatures of one lakh citizens. ?The draft that is to be tabled is draconian and undemocratic. It not only violates the Right to Information Act but will also lead to a substantial increase in the use and commercialization of genetically modified crops,? said Kapil Mishra from Green Peace."

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GIANT BAIGAN KA BHARTA MAKES FOR A DELICIOUS RECORD

NEW DELHI: It was a grand lunch fit to feed an army. Chefs from Le Meridian, Indian Institute of Hotel Management and Indian Culinary Forum prepared two mammoth containers of mouth-watering, traditional Punjabi style ?Baigan ka Bharta.? What made this simple dish made from organic brinjal spectacular was that it made its way into the Limca Book of Records on Tuesday.

To protest the tabling of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament, Greenpeace organized a cook in protest where a 342.5 kg dish was made from scratch with organic vegetables in Dilli Haat. A portion of the dish was delivered to the Prime Minister?s residence along with a petition containing the signatures of one lakh citizens.

?The draft that is to be tabled is draconian and undemocratic. It not only violates the Right to Information Act but will also lead to a substantial increase in the use and commercialization of genetically modified crops,? said Kapil Mishra from Green Peace.

?Our request to the government is not to present and pass the bill in a hurry. We are just asking them to conduct proper studies and research before introducing crops that can have a long-term effect on consumers,? added Mishra.

According to Greenpeace campaigners, only four countries in the world -- United States, Brazil, Canada and Argentina -- use Genetically Modified crops. ?We want the government to adopt precautionary approach to GM crops, just like other countries have done,? said Mishra. Last year, BT Brinjal, the first GM crop to reach commercialization, had faced stiff resistance from citizens.

Lead by Davinder Kumar, executive chef and VP food and beverage at Le Meridian, around 40 chefs from across Delhi prepared the mammoth dish from 350 kg of organic brinjal, 100 kg of tomatoes and 100 kg of onions. It took the chefs around one-and-a-half hours to create the record-breaking dish.

?As a chef I find a huge difference in the taste of a genetically modified vegetable and one which comes from an organic crop. Even though a GM product might look beautiful it cannot match the nutritional value and taste of an organic vegetable,? said Kumar.

After preparation, the Baigan ka Bharta was savoured by spectators at Dilli Haat and distributed to orphanages across the Capital.

Campaigners say that the BRAI Bill, if passed, will provide a single window clearance system for GM crops which is being criticized by many as hazardous to consumer health. Interestingly, on the same day scientists from government institutions, including Indian Agriculture Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, made a plea to the Prime Minister to lift the moratorium put by former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on commercial production of Bt Brinjal and called it absolutely safe for human consumption.

?Considering that the product efficacy, biosafety and environmental safety of Bt brinjal was evaluated for over seven years, as per international standards, involving over 200 scientists and more than a dozen public and private sector research institutions, Bt Brinjal should be commercially released without further delay,? said Dr P Anand Kumar, principal scientist, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   THE WORLD?S BIGGEST GM-FREE BAINGAN BHARTA TO SAY A BIG NO TO GM FOOD

SOURCE:  Greenpeace India, India

AUTHOR:  Neha Saigal

URL:     http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Blog/the-worlds-biggest-gm-free-baingan-bharta-to-/blog/36607/

DATE:    02.09.2011

SUMMARY: "Greenpeace, along with the citizens of India residing in Delhi, is trying to make a world record by cooking the World?s Biggest Baingan Bharta. This will be a fun and exciting event for the public to be a part of, but the message we want to send out to our government is very serious. As concerned citizens we have a right to say NO and we say NO to GM foods. Genetic Modification is a risky technology that is not safe for our food, farming and the environment. The BRAI bill that the government plans to table in the current session of Parliament threatens our right and choice to safe food by lowering the bar for the approval of GM crops."

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THE WORLD?S BIGGEST GM-FREE BAINGAN BHARTA TO SAY A BIG NO TO GM FOOD

What do you get when you put together kilos of brinjal, a gathering of hundreds of citizens and the voices of over 100,000 people who have signed a petition to stop the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill? You get the World?s Biggest GM FREE Baingan Bharta!

Greenpeace, along with the citizens of India residing in Delhi, is trying to make a world record by cooking the World?s Biggest Baingan Bharta. This will be a fun and exciting event for the public to be a part of, but the message we want to send out to our government is very serious.

As concerned citizens we have a right to say NO and we say NO to GM foods. Genetic Modification (GM) is a risky technology that is not safe for our food, farming and the environment. The BRAI bill that the government plans to table in the current session of Parliament threatens our right and choice to safe food by lowering the bar for the approval of GM crops. Our message to the Prime Minister on the day will also be to STOP THE BRAI BILL!

The biggest baingan bharta will clearly be GM free as this is also a celebration of the indefinite moratorium on Bt brinjal (which would have been India?s first commercialised GM food crop) and also a strong message that we want brinjal and all the other vegetables to be GM free. Exactly what the BRAI bill does not guarantee.

The bharta will be distributed to various orphanages and organisations which work with the hungry and needy in Delhi. We also hope to include our Honourable Prime Minister in this feast by delivering a plate of Bhaigan Bharta to his residence after the event with a message, ?If the BRAI bill is on, this will be the last GM free Baingan Bharta you will eat.?

In the last few weeks Greenpeace has been mobilising many groups and individuals on the issue of GM foods and the BRAI bill in Delhi. The response has been outstanding as the public cares about what they eat and are aware of the dangers of GM technology despite the lies being spun by the biotech industries.

We have built an alliance of people in Delhi from different backgrounds and they are going to be present at this record breaking baingan bharta event showing their support and hopefully cooking their own pot of baingan bharta.

Join us at Dilli Haat on the 6th of September from 11:00 am to 1:00pm if you are in Delhi and add to the strength of people already present. If you are not in Delhi, you can always add your voice by 

http://www.greenpeace.in/take-action/save-your-food/stop-the-brai-bill.php

The World?s Biggest GM Free Baigan Bharta represents the public opposition to the BRAI bill and GM foods in India. I am not sure if we will see many more record breaking bhartas around the country but we do know that this is the start of a larger movement to keep our food and farming safe from GM technology.