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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:14 AM

Peru's 10-Year Ban On Transgenic Foods & Seeds Begins Thursday

A 10-year ban on genetically modified foods in Peru came into effect this week, state news agency Andina reported. Peruís executive has approved the regulations for the law that prohibits the importation, production and use of GMO foods in the country.

Violating the law can result in a maximum fine of 10,000 UIT tax units, which is about 36.5 million soles ($14 million). The goods can also be seized and destroyed, according to the norms. The law, which was approved by President Ollanta Humala last year, is aimed at preserving Peruís biodiversity and supporting local farmers, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal said.

Peruís previous administration, under President Alan Garcia, had supported the proposal to use genetically modified organisms. The initiative came from Peruís private-sector export society, known as Comex, and strongly supported by Ministry of Agriculture advisors at the time. Their focus was mainly on boosting crop output for biofuels and .

However, then Environment minister Antonio Brack, whose portfolio was created by Garcia óbasically paying lip service to requirements of the Free Trade Act with the United Statesó successfully fought the initiative and with environmental groups generated public awareness of the issues involved. Besides protecting an increasing export industry of organic and native products, the ban protects Peruís exceptionally varied native plant species óthe import and use of GM seeds for corn, for example, would eventually destroy the different and multicolored species grown in the Andean region.



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