Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
I applaud president-elect Solis’ move to have GMOs labelled. People deserve to know what is in their food, and products exported from the U.S. to other countries already are labelled, so it is no burden to request it for Costa Rica. Of course, the “scientific” information is conflicting on the health effects of GMOs. Many of the people doing the studies and most in the U.S. regulatory agencies are GMO industry insiders.
There are studies that show that some of these products have less nutritional value than the natural versions. Most Monsanto GMOs are Roundup-ready, engineered to tolerate mega-doses of Monsanto’s famous herbicide, which has been linked to health problems especially in children and negative environmental effects due to run-off from fields into streams.
As importantly, I hope that president-elect Solis addresses the problem of over-use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) on crops grown here in Costa Rica. Costa Rica uses more pesticides per hectare of cultivated land than any other country on the planet. We over-use those chemicals to such an extent that we use more than three times the number 2 country (Colombia) and use more than #2-9 combined. It is quite possible that these chemicals in food and in the water supply are responsible for some of the chronic health conditions suffered by Ticos, especially agricultural workers.
One reason that these chemicals are used with such abandon is that they are inexpensive due to a special import tax exemption. Another reason is, no doubt, ignorance about the proper usage of these chemicals. The Costa Rican government should reconsider the import tax exemption and should consider requiring an educational program for those growers who use these chemicals.
Santa Barbara de Heredia