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US Dumping of GE Corn in Mexico Threatens Global Corn Varieties

TRANSGENIC CONTAMINATION OF LANDRACES OF CORN,
ONE OF THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS OF THE WORLD
Sept. 2001
The Mexican government, by means of the Commission for Genetically Modified
Organisms and Biosecurity, has announced that there is scientific research
that shows contamination of corn landraces (indigenous varieties) from the
Mexican State of Oaxaca (world center of origin and diversity of corn), with
transgenic varieties imported from the United States.

During several years, the Mexican Gov. has authorized the importation of
millions of tons of transgenic corn from the USA as grain for food and
industry purposes, pretending to have restricted its use as seed. During
more than three years, Greenpeace has been alerting Mexican Gov. about
the high risk of transgenic contamination of the landraces and wild relatives
of the most important grain of the American Continent. As a response, the
authorities, together with the transgenic companies, have denied the risk of
contamination, arguing that it would be impossible to occur. Now the
contamination is there, and this implies an important risk for food security
and without any doubt an important environmental impact over agricultural
and wild ecosystems related with corn.

With this irresponsible contamination, the Mexican Gov. is incurring in
violation of international agreements, mainly the Biological Diversity
Convention and the Cartagena Protocol, signed by the Mexican Gov., and is
putting in risk the whole genetic structure of the corn populations.
Corn have been domesticated by Mexican Indigenous communities during several
thousands of years, and embraces a deep cultural, nutritional and economic
meaning for them. After three years of presence of transgenic corn the whole
species is at high risk.

Greenpeace is urging the Mexican Gov. to develop an emergency plan for
coping with this contingency, including:
the assessment of the magnitude of the contamination and the involved
transgenic varieties the responsibilities of authorities that permitted the contamination to occur
by neglecting the risk or refusing to implement effective measures to avoid
it a de-contamination plan immediate stop to the importation of trangenic corn
ratification of the Cartagena Protocol establishment of regulation and legislation to guarantee that this
contamination will not occur again the filing of legal action over transgenic companies responsible of the
production and disemination of transgenetic organisms inform immediatly
to the country members of the Cartagena Protocol, and
countries that could be facing the same risk for more information, please contact me
Raul Benet Keil
Executive Director
Greenpeace Mexico
Lead C7
raul.benet@mx.greenpeace.org

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