Published on February 11, 2023 | Nat Williams, AgUpdate
Genetically modified crops have become so ubiquitous, many consumers don’t give them a second thought. But recent developments have put the technology on the front burner.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has issued a decree to phase out the use and importation of GMO corn and other products by 2024. That has triggered a backlash among U.S. trade representatives who believe such a stance may be in violation of the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement, the trilateral pact signed during the Trump administration.
“It’s our position that it flies in the face of USMCA,” said Nathan Fields, vice president of production and sustainability with the National Corn Growers Association. “We’re pretty vocal about asking the administration to support that position. That is a violation.”
Genetic plant development has revolutionized agriculture, especially in the Midwest, where the production of plants resistant to insects, diseases and herbicides is commonplace. And despite the lack of evidence of harmful effects from consumption of foods containing genetically modified organisms, there is still some opposition.
The Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates identification of products containing genetically modified components, opposes the practice despite lack of evidence of negative effects.
“There seems to be more comfort with some of these technologies used in food production,” he said. “There is still a contingency of folks who want to have a connection on the supply side and production of food. It’s not necessarily centered on GMO, but what the supply chain looks like, whether it’s organic, free-range or other things.”