Debate on Mexican biosecurity legislation enters homestretch
Legislative consideration here of a long-delayed bill to establish official policy on transgenics has led to a war of words involving Mexico’s scientific, environmental and business communities.
The legislation, called the Biosecurity Law for Genetically Modified Organisms, won swift and near-unanimous passage in the Mexican Senate in April of last year. But it failed to come to a vote before the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, later that month. Then it was tabled last September and yet again when Congress, on May 4, adjourned its last session. Legislators pledge, however, that they will pass the bill at all costs by September, when Congress adjourns its current session.
Should that be the case, debate in the coming months could go a long way in determining what type of transgenics law Mexico ultimately produces. Will it put Mexico at the forefront of regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMO), as green groups hope, or will it promote wide use of gene-altered products, as large-scale agricultural companies want?