Activists intercept a trainload of US maize as it tries to enter Mexico.
It's not just a case of double standards - the US administration
continues to ride roughshod over the rights of people around the
world to say no to genetically modified organisms.
The latest scientific analysis shows that one third of US maize
entering Mexico is contaminated with GE varieties from Monsanto.
Mexico is the centre of diversity of maize, one of the world's
three most important food crops and it's at serious risk from GE
Teosinte, for example, is the wild relative of maize. Recent
scientific research from the US found that genes from GE crops
could rapidly take over those in wild relatives like teosinte. When
most of the wild populations of teosinte are already under threat,
contamination from escaped GE maize could push them over the
Yet the US and Monsanto have no scruples in dumping their GE
maize into Mexico, even though, back in the US, Monsanto is not
allowed to grow its GE cotton in the South of Florida, because of
concerns about contamination of related cotton species.
The international agreement, the Cartagena, or Biosafety
Protocol agreed in January 2000, clearly states that countries must
take action to prevent adverse effects of GE crops on the
conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Liza Covantes, our campaigner in Mexico said, "Mexicans are
being forced to swallow the destruction of our number one food
source, and the health and environment of the people who depend on
it, because governments around the world stand back and allow the
US to force their trade and biotechnology corporations' interests
on other countries."
Governments around the world are allowing big business to use
trade rules under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to force
crops like GE maize on smaller countries. The US government has
already used WTO rules to force countries such as Sri Lanka and
Bolivia to accept GE food and is currently aiming to force Europe
into accepting their GE giant's products.
"We wouldn't need an international agreement if the likes of
Monsanto and the Bush administration had the best interests of the
Mexican people at heart. But that doesn't mean the US can ride
roughshod over people and environments across the globe just
because they think that governments will let them get away with
it," Covantes added.
It is only through international agreements like the Biosaftey
Protocol that countries can protect the health of their people and
the environment, and, for example, say no to GE food.
The Mexican and other Governments must stand by the agreements
already in place to ensure that the environmental protection
prevails over corporate interest and at the upcoming WTO meeting in
Mexico in September.
Maize Under Threat - GE Maize Contamination in Mexico.