October 08, 2003

Nine Mexican States found to be GM contaminated - Contamination by genetically modified maize in Mexico much worse than feared

From: Indigenous and farming communities in Oaxaca, Puebla, Chihuahua, Veracruz, CECCAM, CENAMI, ETC Group, CASIFOP, UNOSJO, AJAGI

Mexico City, Mexico

* Contamination has been found in cornfields in the states of Chihuahua, Morelos, Durango, Mexico State, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Tlaxcala and Veracruz

* Analyses show contamination with the genetically modified (GM) variety Starlink, prohibited for human consumption in the United States

* Some plants found to show presence of two, three and four different GM types, all patented by transnational biotechnology corporations

* Mexican indigenous and farming communities demand a halt to corn imports, continuation of the moratorium on sowing GM maize, and rejection of the Bill on Biosafety currently before the Mexican Congress.

Representatives of indigenous and farming communities from the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Chihuahua, Veracruz, and the Center for Studies on Rural Change in Mexico (CECCAM), Center for Indigenous Missions, (CENAMI), Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group), Center for Social Analysis, Information and Popular Training (CASIFOP), Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO), Jaliscan Association of Support for Indigenous Groups (AJAGI) released the results of their own independent studies and conclusions on the presence of transgenic contamination in nine Mexican states: Chihuahua, Morelos, Durango, Mexico State, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala and Veracruz. The analysis were carried out on 2,000 plants (in 411 groups of samples), from 138 farming and indigenous communities. In 33 communities (24% of total samples) from nine states, the tests found some presence of transgenes in native corn. The results show percentages of contamination that run from 1.5% to 33.3%, in a second round of analysis.

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