A judge in Mexico ruled recently to suspend the planting of genetically modified corn in the country. The decision marks the first time Mexican courts took up the debate over the risks and benefits of the technology.
The judge based his ruling on the risk of imminent harm to the environment.
Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Enrique Martinez y Martinez, told the newspaper, El Economista, that the agriculture department has always planned to base its decisions regarding the field testing of genetically modified corn based on scientific criteria. But, the delays and litigation is now in the hands of attorneys and, for the moment, there will be no more permits.
The decision is a bit of a surprise considering that up until this ruling, Mexico had been moving toward GM crop approvals. The country had approved limited trials recently, but concerns that GM corn would contaminate the country’s native corn appear to have increased.
The broader issue resulting from the recent court ruling is whether this decision will impact trade. Some have speculated that U.S. corn exports to Mexico may increase as a result.