Mexico softens GMO corn ban that rankled US – Capital Business
Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 14 – The Mexican government on Monday softened its stance on banning genetically modified maize, which had caused tensions with its main trading partner the United States.
The new decree carves out an exception to a deadline to phase out GMO corn by next year, permitting its use for animal feed and industrial food production while suitable substitutes are found.
“The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) may grant authorizations for genetically modified corn for animal feed and industrial use for human food,” the document said.
The provision modified a decree issued in December 2020 in which the government ordered the elimination of genetically modified corn by January 2024, but did not distinguish between different uses of the grain.
“We do not accept transgenic corn for human consumption,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in November, rejecting a US plea to reverse the decree.
“Between health and commercialism, we opted for health,” the leftist president added.
The decision had stoked tensions with Washington, since Mexico imports some 17 million tons of genetically modified yellow corn, which is used mainly for fodder and various industries, including the manufacture of processed foods.
The powerful National Agricultural Council of Mexico had warned that the decision would affect “food security in North America”, while the United States threatened to challenge that decision through a dispute settlement mechanism.
Corn occupies a prominent place in diets in Mexico, where it is consumed by many on a daily basis.