An October 10 press release with Mexico City byline announces the banning of genetically-engineered corn in Mexico. According to the group that issued the press release, La Coperacha, a federal judge has ordered Mexico’s SAGARPA (Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganaderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca, y Alimentacion), which is Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, and SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), which is equivalent of the EPA, to immediately “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings”.
The unprecedented ban was granted by the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City. Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. wrote the opinion and cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” as the basis for the decision. The judge’s ruling also ruled that multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneer are banned from the release of transgenic maize in the Mexican countryside” as long as collective action lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists, and civil society organizations are working their way through the judicial system.
The decision was explained during a press conference in Mexico City yesterday by members of the community-based organizations that sued federal authorities and companies introducing transgenic maize into Mexico. The group, Accion Colectiva, is led by Father Miguel Concha of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vittoria; Victor Suarez of ANEC (National Association of Rural Commercialization Entertprises); Dr. Mercedes Lopez of Via Organica; and Adelita San Vicente, a teacher and member of Semillas de Vida, a national organization that has been involved in broad-based social action projects to protect Mexico’s extraordinary status as a major world center of food crop biodiversity.