The head of Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), B Sesikeran, is also part of a Monsanto-funded institute that lobbies across the world for industry-friendly scientific research and regulatory environment.Former director of institute of nutrition B Sesikeran is sharing the seat with executives of Monsanto, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble as member of trustee board at Washington-based International Life Sciences institute (ILSI). RCGM is a regulatory body of genetically modified crops and pharma. It mostly screens research activities for bio-safety.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Recently, Coca-Cola, Pepsi have funded a study claiming “diet soda is better than water”. ILSI Europe is one of the funders of this research. In 2006, World Health Organisation (WHO) barred the ILSI from taking part in the organisation’s project, sought corporate funding (to the ILSI).As a chairman of RCGM Sesikeran and his team regulates the very same product manufactured by ILSI members like Monsanto. Now, he is sharing his idea with Jerry Hjelle of Monsanto, Ary Bucione, Dupont (Brazil) and Rhona Applebaum of Coca-Cola as colleague at ILSI’s trusty board.In his response, B Sesikeran told dna, “I am one of the trust members of ILSI India and also ILSI international. As chair of RCGM and GEAC, I don’t see any conflict of interest nor did anyone from either of the committees tell me there would be a conflict”. He further added, “ILSI conducts scientific interactions and helps in knowledge dissemination”.ILSI is registered as non-profit organisation, and has worldwide 16 branches including ILSI-INDIA and is funded by multinational GMO, agrochemical and pharma companies to develop “industry-friendly” risk assessment methods for GMO foods and chemical food contaminants. It claims to provide ‘biotech safety knowledge’ and tools of ‘scientific communication skill’ to government officials of India. More than 25 corporate funders are listed as ILSI-India members including Monsanto India. ILSI-India claimed in the same report that “Most activities organised in collaboration with and funded by ministries and industry”.Sesikeran is also member of other important regulatory body under ministry of environment known as GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee). GEAC regulates the use of GMOs and products thereof for commercial applications.According to ILSI-INDIA 2014 report, Out of 12 board members four members are from government regulatory bodies responsible for issuing guidelines on health, food and nutrition as well as monitoring the researches.ILSI’s India chairman P H Pai Pandikar averred to dna, “We are not advocating, but we work with government of India especially department of biotechnology”.It is still not clear if Sesikeran received any money from Monsanto for the work done by him for ILSI. Specific questions sent to Sesikeran on the perks he got from the Monsanto-funded institute went unanswered. However, the presence of Sesikeran, whose job includes regulating the unbridled spread of dangerous GM crops on the board of a body funded by the world’s most aggressive proponent of GM crops, has raised serious questions on how big companies are finding new ways to lobby hard for mainstreaming their unproven and untested GM technologies in India.

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GMOs regulator on Monsanto-funded institute’s payroll?