Massive International Protest on GM Contamination of Mexican Maize

An open letter to Mexican government authorities and intergovernmental bodies was sent today, signed by 302 organizations from 56 countries, demanding actions to stop contamination of farmers' maize with DNA from genetically modified (GM) maize, and to prevent any further contamination in the world's centers of crop diversity and origin.

"People all over the world are showing solidarity with the campesinos and indigenous people of Mexico," said Ana de Ita from CECCAM, "GM contamination is a potential threat to their land and livelihoods, but also to the heart of the Mexican culture and food systems. It must be stopped."

The open letter asks the Mexican government to maintain the moratorium against the planting of transgenic maize in Mexico, stop the importation of transgenic or non-segregated maize - likely the main source of contamination in Mexico- and conduct urgent studies to determine the extent of the contamination. They also call upon the Mexican Congress to reject the biosafety bill now under consideration because it is "deeply flawed."

"The issue goes far beyond Mexico because all centers of crop diversity could be endangered," said Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group. "The international community's lack of action is apalling. The only beneficiaries are the multinational Gene Giants, who are hoping that governments will surrender to GM contamination. But surrender is not on our agenda."