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The Fight Continues: GMO Corn Not Yet Banned in Mexico

Contrary to reports, genetically modified (GMO) corn has not been banned in Mexico. On October 10, a Mexican judge from the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters in Mexico City issued an injunction suspending field trails of GMO corn, however, a complete ban was never ordered.

Federal Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo’s ruling does order the halting of “all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in [Mexico] and ends the granting of permissions for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.”

The order came in response to a class action lawsuit filed on July 5 by Acción Colectiva, a collective of scientists, farmers, scholars and activists who seek a full ban GMO corn in Mexico.

Judge Verdugo cited the risk of “imminent harm to the environment” in issuing his ruling.

“It is impossible to contain transgenic corn and the irreversible accumulation of current and future transgenic packages could exceed the lethal threshold of tolerance of the plant and prevent its survival,” said Víctor Suárez Carrera, executive director of ANEC, an association of Mexican farmers who advocate for food sovereignty.

Acción Colectiva, ANEC, Sin Maíz No Hay País and others have argued the Mexican government has an obligation to protect Mexico’s unique place in the world as the birthplace of corn and the home to more than 20,000 native species.

Corn also plays a very big role in the Mexican diet, making the dangers linked to GMO corn a matter of food sovereignty and food safety.

“Corn tortillas are the staple of the Mexican diet, accounting for 40% of calories consumed in the country,” reads a report from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute.

According to Dr. Mercedes López of Vía Orgánica, a non-profit active in raising awareness on the health risks associated with GMO corn, 53% of Mexicans’ caloric intake and 22% of the protein of Mexico’s national diet comes directly from the consumption of nixtamalized corn.

“If the indiscriminate planting of transgenic corn is allowed, all Mexicans would be affected as each day new research that shows the health damage caused by GMOs is revealed,” says Dr. López.

“The judge’s decision is the first step toward the ultimate protection of our country’s biological diversity and a full recognition of a healthy environment as a human right of all Mexicans, to food quality and corn as a cultural patrimony,” posted Greenpeace Mexico.

For Mexicans, the fight to ban GMO corn in Mexico is a matter of cultural survival. And as a central staple of the Mexican diet, GMO corn is a threat too big to ignore. There is no other choice than to fight until we achieve a complete and permanent ban of GMO corn in Mexico.

We owe it to future generations to protect Mexico’s greatest contribution to humanity: Centli, Maíz, Corn!

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