The release of the first ever GMO wheat, HB4, has officially been blocked by a judicial order in the Province of Buenos Aires Argentina. A great victory for the largest wheat producing region of the country.
After its national approval for trade and commercialization in October 2020, a joint suit was filed by over 40 different social and environmental organizations, agroecological producers, scientists, indigenous peoples, to the provincial court.
The collective called “Un Trigo de Libertad” presented a case that brought together strong evidence of the dangers of introducing a new GMO, citing the new invention as exotic and invasive, with the potential to cause irreversible genetic contamination to local Argentine wheat varieties. The ruling judge cited the precautionary principle enshrined in the General Environmental law, stating that the release could cause irreversible and unforeseeable damage in human and environmental health, as risks of contamination are inherently hard to control.
In 2002 the province passed Law 12822 , which ordered the creation of a Commission of Biotechnology and Agricultural Biosecurity, for the specific purpose of evaluating the risk of new introductions of GMOs and other biotechnologies, stating: “In view of the vertiginous increase in the use of transgenic seeds, we believe it is necessary that there should be a provincial agency that has the function of controlling their use.” Although the commission was never created, the case cited the law for the need to evaluate the multidimensional risks of introducing the new GMO wheat. Until an environmental and biosafety assessment could take place which disproved the potential risks, the judge ruled for the blocking of commercial planting.