Tag Archive for: GMO corn

México retrasa la prohibición del glifosato prevista para el 1 de abril

Después de mantenerse firmes durante más de tres años en sus planes de prohibir el herbicida glifosato a partir del primero de abril, las autoridades mexicanas anunciaron que retrasaban la prohibición.

México mantiene actualmente una disputa comercial con Estados Unidos por su negativa a aceptar el maíz genéticamente modificado (GM), alterado para tolerar la pulverización con glifosato y fabricar toxinas que repelen las plagas, y las autoridades mexicanas han declarado en repetidas ocasiones que consideran tanto el maíz GM como el glifosato una amenaza para la salud de la población mexicana y del medio ambiente.

Sin embargo, menos de una semana antes de que la prohibición entrara en vigor el 1 de abril, las autoridades anunciaron que el uso del glifosato podría continuar hasta que se encontraran otras opciones para el control de las malas hierbas. La medida se tomó en medio de un fuerte cabildeo de poderosas empresas agroquímicas mundiales y la presión de funcionarios comerciales estadounidenses.

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Press Release – Class Action Lawsuit Against Genetically Modified Corn in Mexico

  • Great triumph against Monsanto in the defense of native corn, and against glyphosate.
  • Collegiate Court postpones the proposed resolution of the magistrate Ricardo Gallardo Vara on the injunction in favor of glyphosate and that favors transnational companies.
  • They recognize the precautionary principle and the precautionary measure against the planting of genetically modified (GM) corn, in view of the probable damage caused by cancer and in favor of the defense of health and biodiversity.

The Collective plaintiff against genetically modified corn celebrates the vote against the resolution of an injunction trial in favor of the Bayer-Monsanto company against the presidential decree for the progressive substitution of the use of glyphosate and prohibition of transgenic corn, presented by the magistrate Ricardo Gallardo Vara, who insists on determining that there is no danger associated with transgenic corn.

In a discussion held yesterday, Thursday, January 4, 2024, magistrates Patricio González Loyola and Jean Claude Tron Petit, mentioned arguments that the plaintiff Collective has presented during the ten years of our legal process, and that support our position of defending the right of present and future generations to the biodiversity of native corn in our country.

Judge Jean Claude Tron Petit highlighted aspects in the draft resolution that need revision, for example, that glyphosate is a deep-acting herbicide that kills the plants with which it comes into contact, which is why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been developed that are resistant to its effects.

He highlighted that the Decree not only has to do with the limitation or regulation of glyphosate, but also with biodiversity and highlighted the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation of October 13, 2021, which recognizes the effects on biodiversity.

Likewise, the magistrate emphasized that there is scientific evidence that contradicts the information presented by Magistrate Gallardo Vara, such as that of the U.S. Environmental Office, which in 2023 resolved that glyphosate did not represent a serious risk in terms of carcinogenic effects, which in 2023 resolved that glyphosate did not represent a serious risk in terms of carcinogenic affections, a situation that was questioned by interested sectors and which led to a sentence issued by the Federal Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit of that country, ordering said Agency to rectify its considerations, since it did not take into account each and every one of the elements involved. He also highlighted the restriction of the German Parliament in the year 2023 for the use of glyphosate.

He mentioned several lawsuits filed against Bayer-Monsanto by people who have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that is a consequence of the use of the herbicide, such as the case of Edwin Hardeman, who won a lawsuit for 25 million dollars.

With respect to the decision of the European Commission authorizing the use of glyphosate for ten more years, the result of a controversial vote, he clarified that the use of glyphosate in public spaces was prohibited and that its use is not allowed for the drying or harvesting of vegetable products, especially for food use.

On the other hand, he mentioned studies that confirm the presence of glyphosate in people, particularly in children, in the states of Jalisco and Campeche, and commented on the cases of 10 to 15 countries that have restricted and even banned the use of the herbicide.

Finally, he made a call to be aware of the problems of glyphosate and the damage to native corn and commented that in situations of uncertainty or doubt such as the present one, it is better to apply the principles of prevention and precaution.

Judge Patricio González Loyola, focused his participation on the impact on the environment and health related to this draft resolution, such as the precautionary principle, which he mentioned, is justified, since it forces us to be careful in situations in which the risk may be the factor behind the action in question, in this case, the Decree that Judge Gallardo Vara has insistently tried to attack.

This, because they considered that the Decree is not a prohibition, but a restriction to reduce its use as a precautionary measure in view of the possible effects that glyphosate causes on people’s health and biodiversity.

It is important to have in mind that what is valid in other countries is different from Mexico, since in our country there is a connection between the effects on corn and traditional cornfield crops, which may have a different impact in other countries and cultures.

In Mexico, the consumption of tortillas and other corn products is high, so the impact that glyphosate may have on people deserves to be investigated, taking into account factors that correspond to our socioeconomic reality and our culture, highlighting that this is not present in the evaluations presented in the draft resolution.

It is essential to take up again the statement of Judge González Lozoya in the sense that the issue is controversial, but that the carcinogenic quality of glyphosate by the WHO means that certainty cannot be demanded in cases of presumption of irreversible damage.

Therefore, the Fourth Collegiate Court decided to withdraw the proposed resolution and reconsider it, considering the series of arguments presented by Justices Tron Petit and Gonzalez Loyola, all under the resistance of Justice Gallardo, who had to assume the reconsideration of the resolution.

As the plaintiff collective, we consider that this resolution represents a great triumph for the millions of corn consumers in Mexico, Mesoamerica and the world, by placing the human rights to health, to a healthy environment, to adequate and safe food above all else.

Unfortunately, the Collective has not been considered as a third party interested in the discussions on transgenic maize, however, we will continue to defend the great diversity of native maize in our country, against the purely economic interests of transnational companies, which do not take into account the damage that their genetically modified organisms and toxic agrochemicals cause us.

We will be watching the new project of the magistrate Gallardo Vara, to prevent him from continuing with the logic of favoring companies that are predators of life, the environment and biodiversity and that only seek profit, as is the case of Bayer-Monsanto.

Official press release (in Spanish)

“We are grains of corn from the same ear, we are one root, from the same path.” Otomi poem

EU, con transgénicos y dumping agrícola, va por la soberanía alimentaria de México

La disputa del gobierno estadunidense contra las políticas de México sobre restringir el maíz transgénico es el ejemplo más reciente del mal uso de un tratado comercial para impedir los programas sociales mexicanos y de otros países. Con cinismo e hipocresía, avanza los intereses de las empresas trasnacionales; el costo, la seguridad alimentaria en el mundo.

Estados Unidos persigue tales estrategias, con el objetivo de ampliar sus mercados. De esta manera, disponer de los excesos de granos que sobreproduce y vende a precios bajos.

Sus políticas agrícolas favorecen e incentivan la sobreproducción de cultivos como el maíz, la soya y el trigo. Al mismo tiempo, disminuyen los precios con una oferta que excede la demanda. Estas estrategias sirven a los intereses de los agronegocios, los cuales benefician a la alta demanda por sus semillas, agroquímicos y maquinaria, además de los precios bajos para el forraje, las fabricas de etanol y la comida altamente procesada.

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El dilema mexicano: usar o no el maíz transgénico de Monsanto

El maíz es la especie vegetal central en la alimentación, sociedad, cultura y economía de México, y no podía ser de otra forma, pues en este territorio mesoamericano se originó y se cultiva allí desde hace más de seis mil años.

Todo comenzó en el Valle de Tehuacán, y es de otra parte, el reservorio de 64 variedades de ese alimento, 59 de las cuales son nativas.

Ni que decir de la importancia del maíz en la cultura Maya, pues podemos afirmar, sin temor a equivocarnos, que el maíz era la base fundamental de la sociedad, ya que existe una relación indisoluble del mismo con los grupos humanos que habitaron el territorio desde tiempos prehistóricos y dichas culturas basaron su desarrollo en el cultivo de este cereal; además, esta relación ha permanecido hasta el presente en las poblaciones rurales e indígenas de todo México.

El consumo del maíz inició con un sencillo proceso de calentamiento hasta que la semilla explotara en la forma que hoy conocemos como “palomita de maíz” y más tarde, es casi seguro que también se moliera para producir harina, pero sin duda, el proceso de nixtamalización para la elaboración de la masa para tortillas y tamales es uno de los grandes logros de las culturas mesoamericanas, al favorecer la biodisposición del calcio, aminoácidos y niacina.

Para la época anterior a la conquista española ya los habitantes de Mesoamérica efectuaban un aprovechamiento integral del maíz. Tanto los granos, las hojas, los tallos, como las espigas del maíz, se utilizan con diferentes propósitos.

Todas las partes de la planta, incluyendo las raíces y horcones, sirven como abono o combustible. La caña se utiliza en la construcción como también en trabajo artesanal, ha servido de envolvente, abono, combustible, bebida refrescante o embriagante.

La hoja sirve como envoltura de tamales, para fabricar objetos rituales o artesanales, también como recipiente y para amarrar manojos de hierbas y especias; antiguamente los cigarros venían envueltos en hojas de totomoxtle. El olote, corazón de la mazorca, se emplea como combustible y alimento para animales, como herramienta para desgranar las mazorcas, pulir madera y piezas de alfarería, o como tapón de recipientes.

Actualmente, la industria emplea el maíz como forraje en la alimentación de grandes hatos, y para obtener compuestos químicos comercializados en alimentos, medicinas y cosméticos: azúcar de maíz, dextrosa, miel de maíz, almidón o fécula, aceite, color caramelo, dextrina, malto dextrina, sorbitol, y ácido láctico. También es un recurso energético renovable, ya que de él se obtiene el etanol, que es un alcohol derivado de la fermentación del almidón del maíz, el cual se emplea como combustible para automotores.

Como podemos observar con la exhaustiva descripción anterior, los mexicanos desde siempre han tenido un consumo autosustentable, pero han pasado muchos siglos y las cosas han cambiado de manera absoluta, pues actualmente todo el mercado mundial del cereal está controlado por unas pocas multinacionales, entre las que se destaca por mucho la firma estadounidense Monsanto.

México ha padecido cambios profundos que iniciaron en los noventas el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN): desde el retiro de subsidios directos para el sector agrícola, hasta la desaparición de instituciones públicas que antes ofrecían asistencia técnica para el cultivo del maíz.

En cambio, Estados Unidos se reservó el derecho de inundar a México con su maíz transgénico a muy bajo costo, puesto que es producido de manera industrial en grandes extensiones y como si lo anterior fuera poco, con importantes subsidios a los agricultores estadunidenses.

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Mexico’s Corn Defenders Honored with Environmental Prize

When I arrived in Mexico City nine years ago to research the effort by citizen groups to stop multinational seed companies from planting genetically modified corn in Mexico, the groups had just won an injunction to suspend planting permits. Monsanto and the other companies, supported by the Mexican government at the time, appealed and the farmer, consumer and environmental groups were awaiting a judicial ruling.

I asked their lead lawyer, Rene Sánchez Galindo, how he thought they could hope to overcome the massive economic and legal power of the companies and government. He said with a smile, “The judge surely eats tacos. Everyone here eats tacos. They know maize is different.”

He was right. The next day the judge upheld the precautionary injunction. And he is still right: Ten years after the Demanda Colectiva, a collective of 53 people from 22 organizations, filed their class-action suit to stop GM corn, the precautionary injunction remains in effect despite some 130 company appeals.

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Demanda Colectiva Maíz recibió premio Pax Natura 2023

La Demanda Colectiva Maíz (DCM) recibió el premio Pax Natura 2023, en reconocimiento de una década de litigo estratégico por la defensa de los maíces nativos en México. Randall Tolpinraud, director de la Fundación Pax Natura, entregó la presea en el auditorio Pedro López del Museo Franz Mayer el lunes 16 de octubre.

La ceremonia de entrega comenzó con un ritual dirigido por Amalia Salas, xochimilca reconocida por la defensa de los derechos de la tierra. Quien dirigió con el “atecocolli” (caracol marino) al auditorio, para agradecer hacia los cuatro vientos a la “madre Tonantzin”, deidad nahua de la fertilidad, “por las semillas y el alimento”.

Mercedes López, representante del colectivo que dirige la demanda, recibió la presea en nombre de su agrupación, que concentra más de diez organizaciones campesinas, así como a decenas de activistas y científicos.

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Us Escalates Mexico Corn Trade Spat With Dispute Panel Request

The United States on Thursday escalated its objections to Mexico’s curbs on genetically modified corn imports, requesting a dispute settlement panel under the North American trade pact, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.

The request to send the dispute to arbitrators was announced after formal consultations failed to resolve deep divisions between the two close trading partners over use of genetically modified (GM) corn, widely produced by U.S. farmers.

Mexico’s Economy Ministry said it would defend its GM corn policies before the dispute panel, saying on the social media platform X that they “are consistent with trade obligations.”

Washington alleges that Mexico’s decree banning imports of GM corn used in dough and tortillas for human consumption is not based on science and violates its commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade launched in 2020.

If the panel rules in favor of the U.S. and Mexico fails to comply with its directives, USTR could ultimately win the right to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican goods, which could spark a rare North American trade war.

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High Court Decision on Gm ‘bogus’ Drought Tolerant Maize – Significant Blow to Advancement of Environmental Law in Gmo Decision Making

On 27 June 2023, Justice Tolmay handed down her judgment on the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)’s application to review the decisions of South Africa’s Executive Council (EC): Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Act, the GMO Appeal Board, and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which approved Monsanto/Bayer’s genetically modified (GM) drought-tolerant (DT) maize variety MON 86470 for commercial cultivation in South Africa (SA).

According to the ACB, these decision-making bodies merely rubber-stamped Monsanto’s application for authorisation, uncritically accepting its evidence that the GMO poses no threat to human health or the environment and ignoring the contrary expert evidence tendered by ACB’s experts.

In this regard, the ACB contends that the EC had failed to evaluate and engage critically with the lack of evidence of claimed drought tolerance, as well as the information furnished by Monsanto, and conduct a rigorous scientific assessment when it was under a legal duty to do so.

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De la defensa del maíz a la salvación del planeta

En la vida, hay eventos decisivos que en cuanto pasa el tiempo se convierten en parteaguas imposibles de olvidar. Sucesos paradigmáticos que constituyen saltos cualitativos, resultado de la progresiva acumulación de cantidades. El ejemplo universal es el salto del agua que expuesta a la acción del fuego va aumentando grado por grado, pero que al pasar del 99 al 100 se convierte en éter: pasa de líquida a gaseosa. Esto acaba de ocurrir con el acto de celebración de los 10 años por los que un colectivo de 52 ciudadanos, más 22 organizaciones campesinas y civiles logramos detener la siembra del maíz transgénico y su pareja el herbicida glifosato promovidos por cuatro poderosos corporativos agroalimentarios (PHI, Dow, Syngenta y la actual Bayer-Monsanto).

Esta medida, única en el mundo, se logró por la vía legal mediante una acción precautoria que ha detenido las solicitudes de permiso para sembrar maíces transgénicos en México, y que ha sido impugnada decenas de veces (sin éxito) por las corporaciones.

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Ten Years in Defense of the Milpa, Native Corns and Mexican Biodiversity

What is the trial’s objective?

The class action’s goal is that federal courts declare or acknowledge the following four matters:

  • That genetically modified organism (GMOs), GM, or transgenic corn have been released with no legal authorization.
  • That the fact that GM corn exists in the field without permits, violates human rights to native corns biological diversity of current and future generations; to food; to health, to a healthy environment and cultural rights, amongst them free will.
  • That the commercial release of GM corn will surpass established limits in that applicable legislation, which will generate human rights violations.
  • That all permits to plant GM corn be denied in Mexico.

Precautionary measure SCJN ratification

A strategic advancement was the granting of a precautionary measure in September 2013 that prevents commercial planting of genetically modified corn, strengthening the background of the lawsuit, which does not intend an economic profit, but the definitive denial of permits for the release or planting of transgenic corn in the country, and that tribunals definitively ban planting of genetically modified corns in the center of origin and permanent diversification.

Since 2013 to date legal seeding of transgenic corn has been prevented in the Mexican territory. Pre-commercial and commercial permits are suspended by court order. Besides, since 2016, if the agribusiness attempts to plant for scientific purposes, it will have to subject itself to court reports and questionings by the collectivity and its scientists. For 7 years they have NOT dared to apply. By ruling of the SCJN (Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation), this measure will prevail until definitive resolution of the trial.

Despite over 130 challenges from the transgenic companies, precautionary measure was ratified by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in August 2021, acknowledging the importance of upholding, and preserving cultural biodiversity through 64 races and thousands of corn varieties that, despite being the base of over 600 dishes and drinks, it is part of the integrality of traditions, culture, rites, and celebrations in Mexico.

Besides, the Supreme Court determined that judges that intervene in a class action trial can dictate any measure deemed appropriate to protect rights and interests of a Collectivity if it meets the law requirements.

This fact constitutes one of the biggest victories in defense of agri-food sovereignty not only for Mexico, but to all the world. Imagine one day, only one day with no corn, atole, tamales, gorditas, sopes, tlacoyos, tacos, tlayudas, popcorn, huaraches, chileatole, and corncobs, it would be a real tragedy. This ruling is also momentous for beekeeping sector and for bees themselves, as part of biodiversity, that have been severely affected by the admission of transgenics such as soy and corn, as well as agrochemicals usage such as glyphosate.

Thus, during these 10 years we must congratulate ourselves on the big international victory that represents stopping powerful transnational companies like Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences and Phi Mexico (known as DuPont-Corteva) alongside of Sagarpa and Semarnat, authorities that were accomplices a decade ago, without a care of the pollution of native corns nor the fatality that their herbicide glyphosate, whose damages have been documented by dozens of scientific researches without conflict of interest; damages demonstrated by over 100 thousand lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto in the United States because of damages caused by glyphosate, mostly for generating cancer.

“The Court ratifies: commercial planting of transgenic corn banned in Mexico”, October 13, 2021.

… Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) denied unanimously the Amparo under revision that was promoted in 2016 by the companies Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, PHI Mexico amongst others, to lift the Precautionary Measure which definitively banned genetically modified corn commercial planting in Mexico.

In the resolution project, drawn up by ministry Norma Lucía Piña Hernández, is established that at no time the 2016 ruling was in contradiction of the legal certainty and discretion principles, arguments that were invoked by the companies to lift the Precautionary Measure…

This court decision means that commercial planting of transgenic corn is still banned in Mexico, whereas experimental planting is permitted under certain conditions, such as previous notification to a judge…

This sentence, implies and advance compared to previous decades and legislations, was ratified today by the SCJN.

From the collective lawsuit against transgenic corn, we claim that “coexistence” of transgenic corn and native corn is not possible, according to research in other nations that demonstrate where transgenics are planted, there is contamination by pollen carried by the wind or pollinators action. To legalize planting will promote this contamination that directly threatens biodiversity and the most important agricultural genetic patrimony of Mexico, passed on by millions of farmers and indigenous peoples that created it and safeguard it today.

 

It is important to point out that being one of the most important cereals in the world by its production volume, versatility in use and adaptability to diverse climate conditions, corn has become a spoil for these companies, a rather juicy business that without the presidential decree, for the year of 2025 would have implied import of 39 million tons of yellow corns from the United States, over 90% GM, which would have resulted in a profit of 2,200 millions of dollars a year; besides de contamination of our native corns.

Juicy business that they’re missing on thanks to a decade of struggle and resistance by a community defending free, diverse, and resilient corn seeds and milpa produce, whose goal is ecological agriculture to fight climate change, defend and preserve traditional food, water, land and pollinators.

War intensifies from various fronts attacking the lawsuit, and presidential decree to gradually stop importation of glyphosate and protect native corns, as well as hinder laws to preserve maize and promote food sovereignty – from the head of Secretary of Agriculture and the National Agribusiness Council, ally of big transnationals -; but it is also important to highlight that resistance continues and grows, such as the “Moratorium of the People”, that bans transgenics on fields and tables.

Especially, the active resistance of the farmer and indigenous communities stands out, that despite all, they still produce milpa and corns allowing the richness of this big gene pool to continue. Communities have allowed that the milpa, millennial tradition to remain alive, as a model of farmer science that is part of the solution, through regenerative models, before the current planetary crisis.

Number 10 is sacred in diverse cultures and communities, such as Pythagoras claimed, for whom it represented action supporting us in what was learned. We hope that these 10 years we will continue attracting happiness, abundance, and above all to achieve our goal that the judicial authority declares the release of transgenic corns as harmful to the human right of biological diversity of native corns for current and future generations, just as health rights.

There still is a long way to travel to achieve the definitive prohibition of planting of GM Corn in Mexico, to protect the preservation and diversification of native corns, of milpa and the indigenous and farmers people’s rights, just as the right to a healthy environment and related rights. The sentence and Precautionary Measure will have far-reaching implications for the Collectivity of 125 million consumers, that defend the rights to biodiversity of native corns and to a healthy environment, without them food sovereignty and health protection cannot be guaranteed.

We invite you to keep informing yourselves about our defense of biodiversity and native corns through our social networks. We appreciate the media that have supported us through this important fight.

There still is a resolution left – what steps do we need to take for the definitive protection of Mexican corn? 125 million consumers.

Main Trial

 The next trial stages have concluded: preliminary admission of the lawsuit, lawsuit certification (period that prevailed despite 11 amparo trials), conciliation hearing amongst parts with no agreement reached, preparation and submitting of evidence, trial’s final hearing, and presentation of final arguments.

On the file that at the present has approximately 23,000 pages, the jury made already established a date to give a judgement of trial in first instance, what could come about a few weeks or months, depending on their workload.

Future sentencing can be appealed from both parts, whilst in its considerations and resolutions, and in possible irregularities during procedure.

Defendants in this class action are: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, PHI Mexico, and the federal government through the secretaries of Agriculture and Environment; agency that, manifested to the federal courthouses that it will comply with the Decree that ordains federal authorities, under the law, amongst other things, deny planting of GM corn permits, published on December 31st, 2020 on the Official Journal of the Federation.

Before the judge resolves the class action trial, we won an Appeal Court Sentence in which the jury is ordained to take into consideration all the elements that are necessary to give a judgement (for example incomplete translation of scientific articles, that defendant companies pretend to hide during trial), and that Monsanto company  does not have the privilege of presenting evidence without comply with requirements established by law.

In 10 years, 18 judicial bodies have known the class action corn, including First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, dozens of objections have been resolved, with a majority agreeing with the Collectivity.

Tag Archive for: GMO corn

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