The United States is far and away the world’s biggest producer of corn, growing over 354 tons of the popular grain crop as of 2023 according to World-Grain.com statistics.
Further down the list is its trading partner and ally, Mexico, which comes in at number seven worldwide with 27.6 million tons grown.
The United States is also the world’s largest exporter of corn, but there’s one major problem with that distinction according to our neighbors from the south: over 90% of the corn grown here is genetically modified, and Mexico has made it clear that this type of corn is no longer welcome for human consumption within its borders.
“Health is One Thing, Trade is Another” — Mexico’s President Defiant In Face of GMO Corn Lawsuit
Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this past week, the latter of whom is threatening to sue the country to reverse its recent GMO corn ban, according to a report from the non-profit GMO Free USA.
Vilsack is known as a ‘Monsanto Man’ among Non-GMO advocates, having won the biotechnology industry’s Governor of the Year award twice over the course of his political career while working to approve scores of pesticide-intensive GMO crops.
Now, Vilsack is pressuring Obrador with hopes of forcing Mexico to accept imports of genetically modified corn from the United States for human consumption — and Mexico’s president is standing his ground.
“We’re self-sufficient in white corn and we’re not going to allow the importation of yellow corn for human consumption,” Obrador told reporters at his regular news conference.
Obrador said on Tuesday that Mexican government officials were “very clear” in their meeting with Vilsack that they “can’t allow” GMO corn to be imported for human consumption any longer, citing health concerns.
President López Obrador added that yellow corn has been imported mainly as livestock feed and said that the “content” of the lab-spliced genetically engineered crops would be reviewed to see “whether it’s harmful to health, even when it’s used as fodder.”
He remained adamant that this type of corn, which typically is created in a lab to withstand large doses of Roundy, Monsanto/Bayer’s trademark synthetic herbicide, would not be allowed to be brought into the country to be eat by humans any longer.
“We’re looking for the way for them to understand that trade is one thing…and health is another. And if we have to decide between health and trade, we choose health…The agriculture secretary (Vilsack) is a responsible person, he understood us,” López Obrador said.
More information about President López Obrador’s historic stance can be found on MexicoNewsDaily.com.
In 2020, President Obrador issued a ban on GMOs that is expected to last until at least 2024, citing health concerns, his preference for self-sufficiency, and his respect for native cultural, non-GMO traditions involving the popular food crop.