The international saga over the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has reached a new chapter as Mexico bans genetically modified corn. Mexico has now put an immediate and indefinite ban on genetically modified corn as of Oct. 10, 2013.
EcoWatch reports the decision was made by Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J., who serves on the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters in Mexico City. The judge’s reasoning for the decision is the “risk of imminent harm to the environment.” EcoWatch cites that his ruling “immediately suspends all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and ends the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.”
Another important aspect of this ruling, as reported by Organic Consumers Association, is the banning of multinational corporations like Monsanto from releasing genetically modified corn in the Mexican countryside. This provision is significant as it temporary protects the 20,000 varieties of corn that are grown in Mexico!
Like many countries that have banned the use of GMO crops, Care2 cites that Mexican authorities are concerned that genetically modified corn will contaminate native species resulting in harm to not only the environment but human health as well. This has been the primary concern with most GMOs across the world. The uncertainty of the impacts on the human body and the cross pollination with natural plants has spurred many to question and ban GMO crops.
This news is significant in that it bans major international companies like Monsanto from selling, planting, and testing genetically modified corn. However, it may have more of a symbolic impact in that it’s the very country where corn is believed to have originated. A New York Times article from 2010 tracks the origins of corn to a Mexican grass called Teosinte. So you could argue that this fight against GMO corn is not just about health and the environment (or the importance of biodiversity), but about history and heritage as well.
Mexico isn’t the only country fighting back against GMOs. As discussed in this recent One Green Planet article, Costa Rica may be on the brink of banning GMO crops at the national level as well!