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A View from David Appell

GM Corn Row

The latest skirmish in the long battle over genetically modified crops is about a NAFTA report on the Mexican maize controversy. That’s the situation where unwanted genetically modified corn was found growing in Mexico, the original home of maize and…

  • November 10, 2004

The latest skirmish in the long battle over genetically modified crops is about a NAFTA report on the Mexican maize controversy. That’s the situation where unwanted genetically modified corn was found growing in Mexico, the original home of maize and a place where GM crops are not allowed. The NAFTA report found no inherent problem eating the corn, but raised reserved doubt about its environmental consequences (and about the consequences of future strains of pharmaceutically laden GM crops). But more than that, the report shows respect for the Mexican position of not wanting GM crops in their country, as ought to be their right whether it’s fundamentally scientifically sound or not.

Not surprisingly, the U.S., the big bully in the biotech arena, dismissed the report and with it the feelings of millions of Mexicans who would like to decide what they eat. “How would Americans feel if we started getting living transgenic seeds that had been judged to be safe by the Cuban government but not the American government?” asked one member of the NAFTA panel. Of course we wouldn’t like it one bit, and U.S. regulatory agencies ought to show the same sensitivity.

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