Potatoes Peruvian varietiesDespite pressure from multinational agri-business corporations such as Monsanto, the Peruvian Environment Minister announced this week that the government has approved a new regulation imposing a moratorium on the production and entry of genetically-modified organisms, also known as transgenics or GMOs, into the country for the next ten years.

The government sided with 6000 or more farmers, some growing the famous and colorful Peruvian potato varieties, who pushed for the ban.

The official, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, called the measure a “demonstration of the government’s commitment to preserve the biodiversity of native crops”.

Peruvian supermarkets, like those in North America, are already inundated with products containing genetically modified ingredients, especially those listing corn, canola oil and sugar (from sugar beets). There is no requirement for labeling that would alert consumers.

Monsanto, with its deep corporate pockets, spent millions of dollars in California this year to defeat a proposed law to require simple labling of products containing GMOs.

The European Union approved mandatory GMO labels back in 1997. But when the EU tried to ban the growing of GMO crops, Canada, the US and Argentina sued. The bans were declared illegal by the World Trade Organization in 2006 and the EU lifted the general ban. But, according to a law passed by the European Parliament in 2011, the individual countries belonging to the EU are free to ban them.

On a recent television episode, the famous surgeon Dr. Oz referred to a recent 2-year study, the first to have looked at long-term effects of GM foods. Earlier studies all lasted 90 days or less. The new report claims that more than 80% of the rats in that study developed cancer and most of the females developed breast cancer.

Critics say these modified crops are also linked to the rise of super weeds, allergies, and infertility.

(READ the story from Argentina Independent)

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