This week COFEPRIS, Mexico’s regulatory commission for food safety, has approved the sale and consumption of 132 genetically modified products, known as GMOs. Half of the new products are corn, while also including soy, cotton, and other crops.
The COFEPRIS decision heads to the Mexican government for approval before is becomes law. Currently GMO products have been suspended in Mexico under pressure from anti-GMO groups arguing that GMOs represent a danger to the environment, as well as for the biodiversity of native corn.
Currently 70% of foods in the market contain GMOs and more than 80% of crops grown in the United States are grown from genetically altered seeds.
An increasing number of studies connect GMOs to a wide range of health risks and environmental risks, while consumer advocates argue that GMOs are a violation of their consumer rights to know what their products contain.
In layman’s terms, GMOs are processed by isolating certain genes of the product and modifying them for an intended purpose. For example, a vegetable that might not be drought tolerant can be modified to be grown in drier climates, or even modified to hit maturity at an earlier stage.
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Supporters of GMO argue that the process is becoming more important in food production as the world population grows and available farm lands decrease, and the industry needs solutions for farming in the changing climate of the future.
Last September Mexico also approved the use of 12 pesticides that are prohibited in many other places in the world due to their health risks.
In Mexico corn yields 38 percent below the world average per acre and the country also uses the highest quantity of pesticides per acre of arable land in North America. Some growers say that GMO corn that is insect-resistant is the solution to more output while using less pesticides in Mexico.