School teachers seeking ban on genetically modified foods

The school teachers union has demanded that the public schools stop serving or selling food that has an origin in genetically modified components.

That would be nearly all the snack foods that have foreign origin or made with foreign products like yellow corn.

The union, the Sindicato de Educadores y Educadoras Costarricenses, just held its annual general meeting where thisresolution was passed among others.

The union said that genetically modified foods have grave implications, but the report of the action did not specify what these are.

The World Health Organization stops short of saying that genetically modified foods are safe. Instead it says that each product should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In the United States, genetically modified foods are assessed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before the products go on the market.

Europe has banned modified crops, and California voters nearly passed a law that would have required labeling of such products.

There has been little discussion in Costa Rica on the safety of modified foods. There has been concern from some environmentalists that growing modified crops here would endanger the genetic makeup of traditional Costa Rican strains. The Monsanto Co. produces modified crops to create strains that resist the week killers the company also makes.

World Health notes that modified foods now come from plants but that modified livestock are likely to appear soon.

Crops can be modified to produce their own pesticides, to prosper in dry climates and other uses that benefit farms.

A number of Costa Rican cantons have declared themselves free of genetically modified crops at least as far as agricultural practices are involved.

Modified crops have been grown in Costa Rica for years.

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