Amidst the drama of the USDA’s recent decision to deregulate both GE alfalfa and sugar beets, the Mexican government has quietly decided to reject Monsanto’s request to expand testing of genetically modified corn.
“Monsanto was one of three international biotechnology companies that began cultivating pest-resistant or herbicide-resistant corn less than two years ago in small, controlled experiments in Mexico after an 11-year moratorium was lifted on corn altered using biotechnology” according to NASDAQ.
When all three companies requested permission to enter their second phase of testing last fall, Monsanto was the first company to be told “no”.
The head of the Interministerial Commission on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (Cibiogem), Reynaldo Alvarez Morales, said more information and tests are needed before he will allow more planting of GE corn.
Corn is a staple food crop in Mexico, intricately intertwined with the country’s cuisine, history, and culture. Authorities are concerned that Monsanto’s genetically modified corn will contaminate native species, and could cause both health and environmental issues.
Local growers also worry that a Mexican approval of GE corn will leave them with the nearly impossible burden of proving to buyers that their crops have not been contaminated.
Not accustomed to being told no, Monstanto is, of course, appealing the government’s decision.
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