According to the US, Mexico’s plan to ban imports of GMO corn does not apply to animal feed

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Friday that a Mexican plan to ban imports of genetically modified corn (GMO) would apply to grains used for human food, not forage, based on recent talks with the Mexican Agriculture Secretary Victor Villalobos Arambula.

According to Vilsack, restricting the ban to food makes a big difference to U.S. farmers who have long relied on Mexico as a top export market.

“It won’t make as big an impact as if it were all at once,” he said at a virtual National Press Club event.

According to Vilsack, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has also discussed the plan with Mexico and there is a process under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to address such issues.

“I am confident that these talks will continue and concerns raised,” said Vilsack. “As they are, there are processes that could potentially be used.”

The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexico released an executive order late last year to ban the use of GMO corn for human consumption in three years, but without specifying which products to include. The government has pledged to replace imports with local production by 2024.

Victor Suarez, Mexico’s deputy agriculture minister, told Reuters last month that the plan covers all foods that “will eventually reach human consumption.”

He claimed that GMO corn contaminated Mexico’s native grain stocks.

Last year, Mexican feed companies used around 11.1 million tons of imported corn, the vast majority of which came from U.S. farmers, accounting for nearly 70% of the sector’s total corn purchases in the year, according to CONAFAB, the national feed association.

Mexico imported around 16 million tons of mainly GMO corn in 2020.

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