Preventing genetic contamination of heirloom species is a good idea, for corn and for humans.
Just when you think there’s no winning against the biotech industry, news out of Mexico City shows that all is not lost. After years of deliberation, a Mexico judge has placed an indefinite ban on genetically-engineered corn. Effective immediately, companies like Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country’s borders.
The decision comes nearly two years after Care2 reported that the Mexican government had put Monsanto’s GE corn on hold, citing the need for more tests.
“Corn is a staple food crop in Mexico, intricately intertwined with the country’s cuisine, history, and culture. Authorities are concerned that Monsanto’s genetically modified corn will contaminate native species, and could cause both health and environmental issues,” Care2 reported at the time.
Now, it appears that Mexican authorities have finally made their decision. According to Environmental Food and Justice, Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. of the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City ruled that the genetically-engineered corn posed ”the risk of imminent harm to the environment.” He also ordered Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), equivalent to the U.S. EPA, to immediately “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.”
The ruling means that Monsanto and other biotech companies will be required to halt all activities in the country, giving collective action lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists and other concerned parties a chance to work their way through the judicial system.
According to a local press release, Acción Colectiva [Collective Action] aims to achieve absolute federal declaration of the suspension of the introduction of transgenic maize in all its various forms, including experimental and pilot commercial plantings, in Mexico, “which is the birthplace of corn in the world.”
This is a huge victory for the Mexican people, and provides at least temporary protection for the 20,000 varieties of corn grown in Mexico and Central America. The decision comes just days after thousands of people in over 50 countries participated in the global March Against Monsanto.