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Organic Consumers Association

Mexico Halts All GMO Corn from Being Planted

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Just days before a recent March Against Monsanto protest that took place globally on October 12, Mexico, the geographical birthplace of modern-day corn, instituted a regulatory ban on all plantings of genetically modified (GM) varieties of this staple food crop. A victory for food freedom and agricultural integrity, the announcement was made at a press conference in Mexico City on October 10, where officials notified the public and the press that all GM corn plantings, including pilot commercial plantings, were to be immediately suspended.

Though not necessarily permanent, the injunction came after years of protests against transgenic crops, particularly those that threaten the persistence of staple crops like corn. For Mexico, corn, also known as maize, is a primary food crop for which there are hundreds, if not thousands, of heirloom varieties currently being grown. If GM corn varieties are allowed to be cultivated alongside them on any considerable scale, Mexico's entire agricultural heritage could become extinct.

"The decision came after years of lobbying by activists who noted that Mexico -- the birthplace of modern-day maize and its cultivation -- knows a little bit about how to create various disease-resistant strains of corn, given Mexicans in one form of tribe or another, have been doing it for millennia," writes Gustavo Arellano for the OC Weekly.

Despite a moratorium on GM corn cultivation in Mexico that dates back to 1998, many native maize varieties have still tested positive for low levels of modified genes, which proves that GMOs cannot be contained and have a tendency to contaminate other crops. Because of this, a coalition of 53 groups and individuals, which includes scientists and human rights groups, filed a lawsuit last year to suspend all field trials of GM corn and other experiments that could be causing this contamination.


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