08 December 1999 23:34 [Source: ICIS news]
MEXICO CITY (CNI)--Mexican farmers and Greenpeace environmental officials clashed Wednesday over whether Mexico can keep genetically modified (GM) corn out of Mexico, with Greenpeace representatives warning that Mexico cannot hope to block GM corn.
In the wake of recent Greenpeace protests here regarding importation of GM corn, the head of Mexico's private corn growers association told CNI that cultivation of GM corn in Mexico "is unlikely."
Jose Enrique Tron, director of Mexico's National Industrialised Corn Chamber, told CNI that the likelihood "is very remote that people are using [GM] maize seeds for cultivation." He noted that Mexican law bars farmers from planting the "yellow" corn. The ban is designed to protect thousands of indigenous corn strands. He noted too that members of the chamber do not use GM seeds.
However, local Greenpeace representatives complain that insufficient Mexican government regulation and enforcement are opening inroads for the sale of the genetically altered corn for cultivation.
According to Greenpeace, Mexico imports more than 4.5m tonne of maize from the US annually, of which some 25%-35% is GM maize.
"There is no way to prevent this [GM] maize from being cultivated," Greenpeace officials charged in a recent statement. "Only a fool would believe that it will not be used as seed as well."
Greenpeace argues that too little is known about the health and environmental impact of GM corn and that the Mexican government should limit cultivation of GM crops in general until studies prove GM crops are benign.
But Tron argues that the GM maize does not pose a threat to public health because the imported GM corn is not for human consumption, but instead is reserved for animal feed.
Tron conceded, however, that even though the government is increasing regulation of GM foods and analysing the impact of GM foods on indigenous plant life, "we still can't be sure that everything is under control."
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections