The U.S.-Mexico Tortilla Struggle

The U.S.-Mexico Tortilla Struggle


A commerce dispute places a highlight on meals sovereignty, GMOs, a controversial weedkiller, public well being, and the destiny of Mexico’s iconic white-corn flatbread

Might 28, 2024 | Supply: The Fern | by Alexander Zaitchik,

Do nations have the appropriate to find out their very own meals insurance policies? Can they make legal guidelines to safeguard home agriculture, public well being, the setting, and the genetic integrity of the nationwide weight-reduction plan?

If sovereignty means something, the reply to those questions is sure. Defending meals provides is an historic cornerstone of the social contract, one enshrined in twenty first century commerce pacts together with the US-Mexico-Canada Settlement, the successor to NAFTA. In December 2023, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador invoked this proper when he banned genetically modified corn for human consumption and phased out the usage of glyphosate, GM corn’s signature herbicide, which the World Well being Group calls “in all probability carcinogenic to people.” The measure, stated López Obrador, was needed to ensure Mexicans’ “rights to well being and a wholesome setting, native corn, [and] guarantee a nutritious, ample, and high quality weight-reduction plan.”

If GM corn and glyphosate pose well being dangers to people, as urged by a rising physique of analysis, then these dangers are magnified in Mexico, the place the nationwide weight-reduction plan revolves round minimally processed white corn, particularly within the type of its iconic flatbread, the tortilla. Corn meal accounts for greater than 60 % of the typical Mexican’s every day energy and protein, which is roughly 10 occasions the US common and places Mexicans at 10 occasions the chance.

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