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Crop Biotech Update

Philippine University Professor Assures Bt Eggplant is Safe

December 23, 2010

University of the Philippines Mindanao professor Dr. Eufemio Rasco told a forum in Davao, Philippines, last December 9, 2010 that there is nothing to be worried about Bt ‘talong' (eggplant). Dr. Rasco, who is co-project leader of the fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant in the field trial in UP Mindanao in Davao explained in his talk that the insecticidal property of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used since the 1950s, even by organic farmers, as a biological insecticide. Its insecticidal property was already known since 1901.

Rasco added that he is convinced that Bt eggplant is actually safer than the traditional Bt sprays. "If you'll ask me if I would eat Bt eggplant, 100 percent. I would eat it, feed it to my children, and my grandchildren. I'm completely convinced that it's safe," he said. He also emphasized that the Bt eggplant is a promising solution to solve the problem of fruit and shoot borer infestation. Meanwhile, Ms. Merle Palacpac, of the Bureau of Plant Industry explained how the physical confinement, biological traps, and 200-meter isolation are being strictly implemented as part of the risk management. She also ensured that "Bt talong is being assessed for safety, as it passes through the risk assessment set by Administrative Order No. 8.

For a related article about the forum, visit http://www.dailymirror.ph/Dec-2010/12132010/front3.html. For additional information, e-mail bic@agri.searca.org or visit the SEARCA BIC website at www.bic.searca.org.