Myth: Bt brinjal is dangerous for the health of consumers because the Bt pesticide is contained in the fruit

Truth: The pesticide in Bt brinjal is only toxic if you happen to be a fruit and shoot borer caterpillar. Humans, and indeed all other animals, are not affected by the Bt protein involved, which is known to scientists as cry1Ac. There are many examples of plant-derived substances that are toxic to insects but not to humans — caffeine is another. Cry proteins have been extensively tested by scientists for two decades, and are used in millions of tonnes of food and feed crops in North and South America, Europe and Asia that are consumed by farm animals and people. Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis, naturally originates from a soil bacterium that is ubiquitous around the world. It has been used for as long as 60 years as an external pesticide, and is heavily relied upon by organic farmers for this purpose. Moreover, Bt brinjal will actually reduce peoples’ exposure to pesticides by reducing the use of insecticides, many of which are genuinely toxic and indeed carcinogenic. What anti-GMO activists never admit is that brinjal is conventionally sprayed with pesticides every 2-3 days to protect against fruit and shoot borer infestation, adding up to as much as 80 sprays in the growing season. So Bt brinjal will be safer for consumers than the conventional alternative, which is why it was developed — in order to reduce the environmental and health damage from toxic pesticides.