Mexico rejects Monsanto's GMO corn_________________________________________________________________________
Friday, February 11, 2011
by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer,
(NaturalNews) Mexican officials seem to have more common sense than American officials, with their continued denouncement of Monsanto's genetically-modified (GM) corn. Mexico has kept in effect a moratorium on Monsanto's GM corn since 2005, citing a lack of safety studies and evidence showing the "Frankencorn" is safe, and that it will not cross-contaminate non-GM crops. The Mexican government recently denied Monsanto's request to expand a pilot program for its crops in Northern Mexico as well.
In 2009, Mexico decided to allow Monsanto to plant small GM corn test sites on the condition that the company could both prove that its crops were resistant to pests and pesticides, and that they could provide economic benefits to Mexico. Monsanto has yet to show that the crops actually benefit people rather than its own pocketbook, and of course the multinational biotechnology company has yet to submit a single legitimate safety study for its crops.
The Mexican govenment seems to have had enough of the games, it seems, having recently denied any further expansions of the Monsanto test sites. With its many varieties of heritage corn, Mexico has a lot to lose if its corn stocks become contaminated with Monsanto's patented corn varieties. So it is pressing for more safety studies before any further plantings take place.
To date, there has never been a single, verifiable safety study proving that any GMO is safe for people or for the environment. GMO residues, however, are known to travel to nearby fields and contaminate conventional and organic crop varieties. In fact, most of North Dakota is now blanketed in GMO canola, as the mutant crop now infests fields and meadows, and grows by roadside all across the midwestern plain state (http://www.naturalnews.com/030810_G...).
Farmers get OK to plant corn produced strictly for ethanol
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Federal regulators announced Friday that farmers can plant a corn genetically engineered for ethanol production as early as this spring. But as the corn and ethanol industries celebrated the decision, critics of genetically modified crops sounded warnings, saying the corn could contaminate food supplies. The corn, which is designed to make ethanol processing more efficient, was developed by Monsanto competitor Syngenta AG, based in Switzerland. Monsanto, based in Creve Couer, does not market a corn specifically modified for ethanol growth or production, but does sell a hybrid variety geared to ethanol.
For Midwestern corn growers, the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service came as good news.
"What it means for producers is that there's a new specialty market that's being developed," said Nathan Fields, a spokesman for the Chesterfield-based National Corn Growers Association. "This gives them a chance to diversify."
Last year, 86 percent of American corn was grown with genetically modified seed. About 40 percent of the nation's corn is converted to ethanol. But the Syngenta corn will be the first on the market that is engineered specifically for ethanol and processing improvements.
The corn, while it will not be marketed for food, was deemed safe as food or feed by regulators in 2007. But the food industry, particularly corn millers, have said that any cross-contamination into the food supply could be ruinous to their businesses, because it could diminish the quality of corn products, and could be damaging to export markets that don't allow genetically modified foods.
Syngenta has said that farmers who grow the corn will enter into "closed loop" agreements that require them to sell the corn only to certain ethanol processors, thereby minimizing the risk of contamination.
The Canadian government has also approved the cultivation of the Syngenta corn. The company plans to work with small groups of growers and plants in western Nebraska and Kansas, and will broaden production next year.
Advocacy groups point to previous control problems. From 2001 to 2004, Syngenta accidentally sold a corn variety, called StarLink, to American farmers without approval to do so.
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