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Ten Year Ban on Genetically Engineered Foods in Peru

LIMA, PERU – In spite of concerted lobbying efforts by numerous multinational agribiz corporations, lawmakers in Peru recently passed a law banning all genetically modified ingredients. The stipulations of the new law are not eligible for review for ten years.

It took Peru’s Congress three years to make the decision in spite of growing pressure for legislation to ban genetically modified crops. Farmers from the farming community, Parque de la Papa in Cusco, presented a strong case for the elimination of such crops from Peru’s eco-system. Many worry that GM organisms might compromise Peru’s native species such as giant white corn, purple corn, and well-known species of Peruvian potatoes.

A test conducted by the Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users (ASPEC) at the time of the ban’s implementation found that over three-fourths of Peruvian supermarkets contained GM contaminants.

“Research by ASPEC confirms something that Peruvians knew all along: GM foods are on the shelves of our markets and wineries, and consumers buy them and take them into their homes to eat without knowing it. Nobody tells us, no one says anything, which involves a clear violation of our right to information,” Cáceres told Gestión.

GMOs are so widespread in the Americas that it is nearly impossible to truly and completely block them, whether through pollination or being secretly introduced as processed foods. The related health effects of eating genetically engineered foods are mostly unknown, but current research suggests they may play a role in birth defects, cancer, organ disruption, lung damage, allergies, and DNA damage.

GM foods are just as common in North America as in Peru. Genetically engineered soybeans, corn, canola, and sugar beets have found their way into nearly 80 percent of U.S. processed grocery store items. That means, if you live in the Unites States, you are likely to have been exposed to genetically engineered food products on a regular basis.

Recent research shows toxins from  genetically engineered crops are now showing up in human blood. Almost all genetically engineered crops are made with genes to resist a potent herbicide called glyphosate.  Glyphosate is more dangerous than first realized and the U.S. is spreading enormous amounts of it every year. The consequences of this exploitation will have overwhelmingly devastating consequences and the longer we wait to remove this toxin the worse it will be.

Walter Pengue of the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina wrote in a recent statement concerning GMOs in South America; “There is an increasing consensus among consumers that they want safe, local, organic fresh food and that they want the environment and wildlife to be protected. South American countries must proceed with a broader evaluation of their original agricultural policies and practices using the precautionary principle.”

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