Lawmakers want to grill those who approved Monsanto plan

A legislative committee wants to hear from all the members of a commission that approved the planting of genetically modified corn in Chomes, Puntarenas.

The Comisión Permanente Especial de Ambiente heard from the minister of agriculture, a vice minister and the head of the nation’s seed office. But two legislators were miffed that they did not have the opportunity to grill all the members of the Comisión de Bioseguridad.

Claudio Monge Pereira of Acción Ciudadana said Thursday he wanted to question all the members of the biodiversity committee. So did José María Villalta Florez–Estrada of Frente Amplio. So all the legislators voted to invite them.

The minister, Gloria Abraham, said that the Comisión de Bioseguridad has been working for 20 years and has had good results.

A subsidiary of Monsanto wants to plant a test patch of corn here, and some worry that the pollen will pollute the genetic makeup of traditional Costa Rican corn or maize plants. The commission is within the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería.

Walter Quirós, director of the Oficina Nacional de Semillas, told lawmakers that they need to be aware that all the foods people consume today are the results of improved seeds although not all genetically modified.

The commission’s approval of the Monsanto plan is being challenged with an appeal to the Sala IV constitutional court. Villalta is among those doing so.

Monsanto modified corn plants to resist certain diseases, insect pests and certain weed killers.

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