Huge Victory in Costa Rica: GMO Approval Process Declared Unconstitutional, Still Rubber Stamped in US

CostaRicaGMO012015.jpg

Anti-GMO protestors have been busy. They have picketed, marched, written their governments, and boycotted GMO-containing goods all over the world. The Central American country of Costa Rica has already made a huge step forward in eliminating GMOs from their food supply as the country’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, declared the GMO approval process unconstitutional. 

Why is GMO approval still considered lawful in other countries?

The court found that the regulatory framework in which biotech corporations currently obtain approval for GMO crops was not in line withconstitutional rights of citizens. The decision was made by Chief Justice Gilbert Armijo Sancho.  He declared that the secrecy with which GMO companies make their products violated the constitutional right to freedom of information.

As many people are aware, the true nature of GMOs are often hidden from public view in Costa Rica and elsewhere. Not all genetic information is released, and many of the toxicity studies are kept secret. In fact, Monsanto has hidden their own test results on their best selling herbicide, RoundUp, calling them a ‘commercial secret,’ and everyone is aware by now, that most GMOs are created to withstand heavy RoundUp spraying.

Claiming ‘intellectual property’ on many of their GM creations, biotech companies have even called their questionable products ‘naturally enhanced organisms’ when the processes in which they alter a plants’ genes do not ever occur ‘naturally’ at all. This term has been put in place to undercut consumer fears and to psychologically confuse customers. If a label says ‘naturally altered’ instead of GMO, biotech is hoping to maintain market share.

The FDA holds tons of secret memos and documents that have been passed between regulatory agencies and biotech companies as well. Many of these memos would have pointed to the obvious conclusion of prominent scientists now. Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world’s top biologists, found that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.

Hopefully, Costa Rica’s stance will affect legislation in other countries and points to the freedom of information we are all entitled to when it comes to our food. The ruling will only affect the approval process on GMO foods, and does not ban them from the country, but it is a step in the right direction.

The Costa Rican Federation for Environmental Conservation, or FECON, said in a press release:

“This guarantees that the procedures to authorize GMOs from now on will be accessible to all individuals, which will allow opposition that guarantees the cultivation of these crops will not disrupt the balance of ecosystems or the public health. This is an important precedent that shows the interests of companies linked to this type of activity – among them the multinational Monsanto which is seeking permits to plant corn – have benefited from the granting of permits in a manner that violates the fundamental rights of the population.”

In 2013, the GMO approval process in the US finally received some critical attention, but absolutely nothing has been done to reverse the rampant rubber stamping that has continued to support biotech companies, rather than consumers:

“In 2013, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) wrote to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and asked them to look into the review system being used to regulate genetically modified crops—specifically, “to ensure that [it] fully reflects current science.” This week, the GAO agreed to begin a review of how the USDA and FDA look at the long-term safety of genetically engineered crops both in the environment and in the food supply.”

Since that time, almost zero risk-assessment studies on GMOs have been conducted.

Read more at NationofChange.


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