Organic Consumers Association

Massive International Protest on GM Contamination of Mexican Maize

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News Release
20 November 2003

Take Action!

Massive International Protest on GM Contamination of Mexican Maize

Go here to send message of protest:

An open letter to Mexican government authorities and intergovernmental
bodies was sent today, signed by 302 organizations from 56 countries,
demanding actions to stop contamination of farmers' maize with DNA from
genetically modified (GM) maize, and to prevent any further contamination
in the world's centers of crop diversity and origin.

See the letter and signatories here:

"People all over the world are showing solidarity with the campesinos and
indigenous people of Mexico," said Ana de Ita from CECCAM, "GM
contamination is a potential threat to their land and livelihoods, but also
to the heart of the Mexican culture and food systems. It must be stopped."

The open letter asks the Mexican government to maintain the moratorium
against the planting of transgenic maize in Mexico, stop the importation of
transgenic or non-segregated maize - likely the main source of
contamination in Mexico- and conduct urgent studies to determine the extent
of the contamination. They also call upon the Mexican Congress to reject
the biosafety bill now under consideration because it is "deeply flawed."

"The issue goes far beyond Mexico because all centers of crop diversity
could be endangered," said Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group. "The international
community's lack of action is apalling. The only beneficiaries are the
multinational Gene Giants, who are hoping that governments will surrender
to GM contamination. But surrender is not on our agenda."

Organizations from five continents around the world are also asking the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center (CIMMYT), the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR), and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to adopt these
issues on their agendas and take actions to ensure the application of the
precautionary principle to prevent further GM contamination of farmers'
varieties. They also urge intergovernmental bodies to call for a global
moratorium on the release of GMOs in crop centers of origin and diversity,
and to insure that the biotechnology industry will not be allowed to make
patent infrigement claims against farmers who are victims of GM contamination.

Take Action!

Readers are invited to join the international protest by demanding action.
Go here to send messages directly to the Mexican government and to
international bodies:

For more information:
Hope Shand, ETC Group,, +1-919-960 5223
Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group,
Ana de Ita, CECCAM, Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano,

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