Posted by: climaycultura | February 20, 2014

Peru says no to GMO

Peru Joins Countries Banning GMO Foods

Peru Joins Countries Banning GMO Foods

Peru is the first country in the Americas to ban genetically modified foods, putting  its food policy closer to that of Europe, than the United States or many of its South American neighbors.

Peru was the cradle of the Inca Empire, and today it’s home to many crops indigenous to the Americas. It has 400 varieties of potato alone, and a geography that allows farmers to grow almost anything. It’s also the only country in the Americas to put a 10-year ban on genetically modified food, with a law that was first introduced in 2011, and went into effect at the end of 2012.

Environmental ‘coup’

GMOs are organisms that have been altered via genetic engineering – and this can mean anything from bacteria, to animals, and plants. Supporters praise the ability of engineers to do things like create plants resistant to pests and drought, or ones that have higher yields.  Yet those wary of GMO crops worry about food safety, a lack of longterm research, and the potential for contaminating and even wiping out non-GMO species.

Peru’s new law puts its food policy closer to that of Europe, than to that of the United States or many of its South American neighbors. While genetically modified species can still be tested in controlled lab settings, as of December 2012, they can’t be planted or set free, and GMO seeds are barred from entering the country.

Both activists and many scientists consider this a coup. GMOs produced outside the country, however, are still present in products sold in supermarkets. A law requiring products containing GMOs to be labeled was passed in 2011 – but terms and regulations were never set. According to a study done by the Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users, of 13 basic products bought and tested for the presence of GMOs, 10 tested positive.

Activists say this is all the start of a long fight.

2011 legislation bans GMO crops in Peru for 10 years.

2011 legislation bans GMO crops in Peru for 10 years.

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