Lima, the capital of Peru has declared itself a “GMO-free zone” through a municipal ordinance issued on June 16th. The announcement comes in response to a controversial government declaration that has the potential to blanket the country with deregulated genetically modified organisms.
Mayor Susana Villaran said that the city of Lima, which is home to more than 8 million people, will be a “territory free of transgenic and genetically modified organisms.”
Joining other cities across the country, Lima is eager to protect their population and environment from the damaging effects of GMOs since the April 15th decree that Peru’s Minister of Agriculture claimed would regulate entry procedures for biotech crops. Critics of the ruling and anti-GMO advocacy groups fear the potential for widely deregulated planting of GMO seeds, jeopardizing Peru’s organic crops. The South American country is one of the world’s largest exporters of organic food, which includes coffee and cocoa, estimated at $3 billion a year in revenues.
The proposed moratorium, which would ban GMO foods for ten years unless used for research purposes, has to receive final approval from President Alan Garcia in order to go into effect.
If approved, Lima would join the growing number of cities and countries around the world taking a stand against biotech giants, namely the makers of Roundup Ready seeds, Monsanto.
Genetically modified foods are still largely deregulated in the U.S., a move considered by critics to be akin to the “largest human science experiment in history,” with a number of studies linking GMOs to health risks as severe as birth defects, organ damage and cancer.
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image: James Byrum