MEXICO: Campaign against GM contamination

Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 11:00

BY EVA CHENG

An international campaign was launched on November 20 to stop the contamination of Mexican corn (maize) with the DNA from genetically modified (GM) corn produced by multinational food corporations. Corn is the Mexican population's staple food.

A study has found GM contamination of native corn in least nine Mexican states, despite the fact that the planting of transgenic corn is prohibited in Mexico.

An open letter from "international civil society organisations" on November 19 noted: "[The results] show far more serious and widespread contamination than previously assumed by earlier studies."

"One alarming fact", the letter continued, "is that the communities found widespread contamination with Starlink maize (not approved for human consumption in the US and finally taken off the market) and contamination of single plants with up to three different transgenes, which may indicate that contamination has been occurring over several generations. All identified sequences are patented by one of the five multinationals that control the agricultural biotechnology industry."

The campaigners emphasised not only the need to defend bio-diversity, which is endangered by such contamination, but also the need to defend the livelihood, culture and food systems of Mexican society (including its Indigenous communities).

At least 302 organisations from 56 countries have signed the open letter, which can be read and signed at <http://www.etcgroup.org/action3.asp>.

From Green Left Weekly, December 3, 2003.

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From GLW issue 564