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Mexican Judge Halts GMO Corn Test Plots
USAgNet - 10/21/2013

A judge in Mexico took a precautionary measure and ordered the government to stop giving permits to transnational companies for planting genetically modified corn at an experimental and commercial scale. Opponents of genetically modified organisms widely hail this decision, but those in favour of GMOs say the case is definitely not closed.

All of this against the legal reality that Mexico banned the planting of GMOs back in 1998. However, that law was modified in 2005 to allow the planting of test plots, by permit only and within some very strict rules, in some of the states of Mexico, primarily those along the US border.

It is these permits that the judge ruled against. Companies like Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences are the companies specifically involved in requesting the permits to plant pilot plots. Those same companies are confident that when all is said and done, the planting of GMO corn will be allowed.

There are close to 70 native types of corn in Mexico, and there is a worry that the native corn could become contaminated if GMO corn is planted. Add to that, corn is the main food staple in Mexico, particularly in the central and southern parts of the country. Plus, in a cultural sense, corn has an almost religious significance in Mexico.

In July of this year, a coalition of over 50 groups and individuals filed suit to block field trials of GMO corn in Mexico. The plaintiffs say they have scientific evidence from studies that document the contamination of Mexico’s native corn varieties by GMO corn.

The ban was granted by a judge for the Federal District Court for Civil Matters on October 10. The judge cited the risk of imminent harm to the environment as the basis for the decision. He also ruled that multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneer are banned from planting any transgenic corn in Mexico as long as lawsuits are working their way through the judicial system.

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