Greenpeace Stops Ship Carrying Contaminated Corn

Media release - September 12, 2003
This morning, two Greenpeace activists, from Argentina and Mexico, attached themselves to the anchor chain of a ship carrying 40,000 tons of genetically engineered corn destined for the port of Veracruz, the largest port in Mexico. This action reinforces the Mexican government's rights to reject U.S. genetically engineered (GE) corn, put in place yesterday.

This morning, two Greenpeace activists, from Argentina and Mexico, attached themselves to the anchor chain of a ship carrying 40,000 tons of genetically engineered corn destined for the port of Veracruz, the largest port in Mexico. This action reinforces the Mexican government's rights to reject U.S. genetically engineered (GE) corn, put in place yesterday.

"The U.S. dumping of genetically engineered corn in Mexico must stop immediately," says Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace campaigner. We are dealing with an emergency situation where one of the world's most important staple food crops is at risk due to genetic contamination. Mexico is the biological origin for corn and it needs to be protected."

U.S. companies like Monsanto are ignoring Mexico's right to reject genetically engineered corn. Greenpeace has stopped the first shipment of genetically engineered corn entering Mexico since a new international law to protect biodiversity came into force yesterday allowing countries to reject genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety entered into force yesterday-- a treaty which Mexico has ratified. The international community has adopted this legally binding global agreement to safeguard the environment, biological diversity and human health against the irreversible risks posed by GMOs. The Protocol clearly states that countries must take action to prevent the adverse effects of GMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Greenpeace is calling on the Mexican and other governments to ensure that the Biosafety Protocol prevails over the WTO and its environmentally and socially destructive trade rules," said Stabinsky. The Biosafety Protocol allows developing countries to protect their food supplies from corporate interests"

"The U.S. is defending its continued dumping of crops on export markets at 30 percent below the costs of production despite growing demands from the South to end dumping. At the same time the US is defending the interests of biotech giants like Monsanto by using the WTO as a political weapon to aggressively attack GMO restrictions worldwide," says Stabinsky.

Last month Greenpeace intercepted and blocked a trainload of U.S. maize as it tried to enter Mexico, demanding that the Mexican government undertake an assessment of the scope and magnitude of the GE contamination in Mexico and declare an immediate halt to the importation of GE corn.

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