GMWatch, 9 March 2016


Scientists beat Monsanto in court; native maize varieties (pictured above) will be preserved


On 8 March, a court headed by Judge Benjamín Soto Sánchez notified via an appeal sentence to the Mexican Agriculture Department (Sagarpa) that they are not allowed to grant release or cultivation permissions for transgenic maize until the collective trial promoted by scientists, specialists and farmers is definitively resolved.

This resolution revokes the one that last August had denied the permanent ban on cultivation for transgenic maize. But because of the immediate appeal brought by the Maize Collectivity (Colectividad del Maíz), the ban remained in place at all times.

“Today, we can claim that the precautionary banning measure is definitive until the collective trial or an appeal trial is resolved,” declared the native maize defenders in a press release.

Scientists and specialists signing and heading the collective complaint have no conflicts of interest, since they don’t depend on or have any relationship with transnational companies.

Among the plaintiff scientists are Antonio Turrent Fernández, agronomist; Víctor Manuel Toledo, in the socio-environmental area; Julio Glockner and Narciso Barrera Bassols, in the anthropology, history and culture areas; Raúl Hernández Garciadiego, in ethics and gastronomical heritage; Miguel Concha Malo, director of the Fray Vitoria Center, in the Human Rights area, and Luciano Concheiro and Patricia Moguel in the food heritage area.

The transnational companies denounced since July 2013 are Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer-Dupont and Dow. The scientists also denounced Sagarpa and Semarnat.

Soto Sanchez’s sentence establishes that the collective trial showed the illicit presence of transgenes in native maize crops, so that we can claim that the violation of Mexican and international laws has been demonstrated. Because of this, the appeal sentence bans the granting of permissions for commercial cultivation of transgenic maize.

Double triumph of scientists against transgenic maize

The federal appeal court sentence granted another victory to this group of scientists, inasmuch as if experimental crops were sown, they would be subject to control and a monthly assessment by the federal judge and the scientists winning this legal battle.

Results from experimental cultivations, permissions for which were granted in 2009, have not been assessed at all; with this new ruling, there will be monthly assessments of the containment measures and their efficacy, giving a judge power to revoke permission for the experiments.

Furthermore, transgenic maize intended to be cultivated for research purposes and using glyphosate-based herbicides will be assessed by judges and the plaintiff scientists.

English translation: Observatorio OMG
Source: La Jornada de Oriente



This post is also available in: Spanish