Millions Against Monsanto As Mexico Bans GMO Corn
As millions participated in the worldwide march against Monsanto on October 12, they had much to celebrate. Mexico is banning GMO corn.
In a press conference in Mexico City on Thursday, it was announced that all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country were to be suspended and that the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings would end, at least temporarily.
Anything too easy, or too good to be true, is too good to be true. Genetically modified crops which have genes injected into them from unrelated organisms promise the world but wreak havoc on human and environmental health. Their seeds have been modified to tolerate pesticides and herbicides while humans and animals that eat these crops have not.
GMOs and the Great Debate
Should the Federal Government require labels on all foods with GMO ingredients? Dr. Joseph Mercola and Joel Salatin will debate this issue in Atlanta, Ga., on November 7, 2013, the day before the Weston A Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions Conference in the Sheraton Atlanta. The Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund will hold the great debate, “Joe vs. Joel,” with author and raw milk advocate David Gumpert as the moderator.
If we eat foods manufactured from GMO ingredients, we’re eating herbicides and pesticides that have been used on the crops. Currently, American food products made from corn, soybeans and their by-products will have GMO ingredients that can and should be can be avoided. Consumers can also stay away from meats coming from corn-fed and soybean-fed animals by participating in a Community Supported Agriculture CSA buying club, or by buying directly from a farmer.
Mercola of mercola.com and Salatin, who has appeared in Food Inc, Farmaggedon, Fresh and American Meat, are heavyweights of the food movement. Both advise against eating foods made from the seeds of genetically modified crops, but have different solutions. Mercola.com donated 1 million dollars in support of the 2012 California proposition to require GMO labels.
Salatin, a farmer and local foods advocate, warns of health and environmental damage in the most recent book he’s written, Folks This Ain’t Normal. In addition to the debate, he will hold an all day workshop for those who wish to farm, or become a better consumer. Salatin uses natural methods of farming without chemical fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, anti-biotics or hormones, but does not go for organic certification. He uses entirely natural methods of fertilizing, composting and guarding against drought.
Mexico and the Arguments for and Against GMOs
Salatin maintains that the farming methods he and other organic farmers use can feed the world without bio-technical engineering, because they are nature’s methods. Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant in earnest maintains that genetic modification is exactly what is needed to feed the world, because it can bring down the price of food by increasing production. Although he is having some successes with this message, critics have good reason to fear the cost to human health, and to the environment.
While the European Union and several countries have successfully pushed back the incursion of GMO seed crops, Grant sees it as an elitism of those who can afford expensive foods. However, the ruling from Mexico suggests otherwise. Maize is Mexico’s staple crop, and a gift to the world which could be changed forever if we allow it to be genetically modified in its native country.
The Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City ordered the suspension of planting transgenic corn, as explained by the Organic Consumers Association. Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo wrote the opinion, citing “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” as the basis for the decision. The judge’s ruling also banned multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneer from the release of transgenic maize in the Mexican countryside, as long as collective action lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists, and civil organization work their way through the judicial system. The ruling affects enforcement through Mexico’s SAGARPA, an equivalent to the United States Department of Agriculture and the SEMARNAT, an agency comparable to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.
More Push Back Against Monsanto
On May 22, 2013, the US Department of Agriculture announced that they’ve ordered more investigation into the environmental impact of a new technology developed by Monsanto and Dow Chemical. They are requiring further study of a variety of corn, soybean and cotton crops that have been genetically-engineered to resist heavy duty pesticides, 4-D and dicamba.
There’s more. Around the same time, reports surfaced that many corn farmers in the US have gone back to using pesticides on the genetically-modified corn, now that the GMO corn seeds have become resistant to rootworm. Such news benefits chemical companies other than Monsanto which promotes Roundup.
There’s an initiative to require labels on all genetically modified foods in the state of Washington, I-522, but the food industry is pouring millions of dollars its opposition. How much we, as humans, arrogantly continue to keep using science to combat the gifts of nature?