contaminated corn in mexico
Contamination of corn in Oaxaca, Mexico, highlights the real threat that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) pose to the environment.
“This is the world’s worst case of contamination by genetically modified material because it happened in the place of origin of a major crop. It is confirmed. There is no doubt about it.”
Jorge Soberón, Secretary of Mexico’s National Biodiversity Commission, April 2002.
Contamination of corn in Oaxaca, Mexico, highlights the real threat that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) pose to the environment. Government legislation to prevent GMO contamination of the natural environment is likely to be challenged by the US in the World Trade Organization.
The contamination of native corn at its source of origin in Oaxaca, Mexico by transgenic corn was confirmed in September 2001. According to a Food First report, written by the ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration), “The location of the contamination is one of the world’s most valuable reservoirs of genetic material for plant breeding and a foundation for global food security.”
Mexico has had a moratorium on the planting of GMO corn since 1998. However, GMO corn was still being imported from the US, and farmers were probably unaware that they were planting genetically modified seeds. As Olga Toro Maaldonado, a Oaxacan farmer stated, “No one told us that we should not plant the corn.”
According to the Food First report, “this genetic pollution poses ‘significant potential risks’ that have not been fully and independently studied, such as genetic effects on local corn varieties as a result of cross-pollination by genetically modified plants, the largely unexplored health risks of eating GM foods, and potential ecological and crop management problems which may arise as modified traits pass from the GM crops to wild relatives. The contamination could also potentially expose Mexican farmers to the risk of lawsuits for infringement of monopoly patents, and could threaten future opportunities to export untainted corn to GM-free markets in Europe and elsewhere.”
more information: Food First: www.foodfirst.org/media/press/2002/geneticpollution.html