Dangers of GM corn spark huge trade dispute between the U.S. and Mexico
By Cassie B. // Apr 18, 2024

Mexico and the U.S. are currently engaged in a major trade dispute over genetically modified corn that could have a major impact on American agriculture.

Corn is considered a staple crop in Mexico and makes up a significant part of the diet there; it is consumed in 89 percent of all Mexican meals. The country has successfully stopped genetically modified corn from being grown there for the last quarter century to protect the ancient maize strains growing there, along with the health of their citizens.

The crop has been the subject of trade battles between the U.S. and Mexico before, but the current battle, which is now being argued before a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) panel, relates to a presidential decree issued by Mexico last year banning genetically modified corn in dough and tortillas; the country also declared it will gradually replace genetically modified corn in all human and animal foods.

Both Canada and the U.S. are opposed to the ban, with American trade representatives insisting that the corn does not damage health and attempting to force it into Mexico. It’s clear why they are so eager to push this narrative; genetically modified seed is used in 90 percent of American crops. However, a ban could also have ramifications for the German corporation Bayer, which purchased GM seed producer Monsanto, and the Chinese state-owned seed and agrichemical producer Syngenta.

Mexico maintains that the U.S. has not presented any proof that genetically modified corn is safe in the long term, especially when it is consumed at the high volumes seen in the typical Mexican diet. Corn consumption is a remarkable ten times higher in Mexico than the U.S., making research linking genetically modified crops to health issues particularly concerning among governmental and medical officials there.

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The Epoch Times points out that this trade disagreement also draws attention to the conflicting ideological values between the two countries. While Mexico is chiefly concerned with protecting indigenous maize and public health, the U.S. is focused on protecting the agricultural biotechnology sector and American farmers.

Now, a three-member panel of the USMCA will be tasked with considering the scientific evidence and arguments to make a ruling, and the outcome could have significant repercussions for agriculture.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network Coordinator Lucy Sharratt told the publication: “If the panel pays attention to the science, they should come to the same conclusion as the Mexican government. If they’re swayed by politics and the power behind the technology, it’s going to be difficult for them to see the reality of the science.”

The group, which is devoted to educating the public on genetic engineering in food, was originally invited to provide input to the trade tribunal, but the offer was later rescinded following requests by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Mexico presents scientific studies demonstrating the dangers of GM corn and glyphosate

Mexico is presenting 66 articles published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals demonstrating the health risks of genetically modified corn. These include reductions in nutritional content, organ damage, antibiotic resistance and cancer.

Mexico has also sought a ban on glyphosate, the carcinogenic weed killer used on these crops. Genetically modified corn is engineered to resist glyphosate, the main ingredient in the highly popular weed killer RoundUp, which means that GM corn is sprayed generously with the toxic chemical. The ban was supposed to go into effect at the beginning of this month, but it has been pushed back while the government finds a suitable alternative that is available in sufficient amounts.

They included 74 papers and studies about the dangers of glyphosate in their report, including evidence of residues of the chemical on GM corn.

One study that looked into the dangers of the chemical from the Journal of Organic Systems found a sharp rise in the prevalence of 22 diseases that coincided with the increasing use of glyphosate, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, several types of cancer and multiple sclerosis.

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