Wednesday, February 01, 2017 by Ethan Huff
There has been all sorts of talk in recent days about the incoming Trump administration’s refusal to let other countries continue taking advantage of the United States in unfair trade deals. But what about when other countries decide to stop doing trade with the U.S. because the goods we trade them are toxic and destructive?
This is the current situation with the South American country of Brazil, which appears poised to ban all imports of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from the U.S. because a great number of them have never undergone proper safety approvals. Brazil has rather strict guidelines for GMO approvals that the U.S. does not have, thus there is a major holdup, particularly in the chicken industry.
While Brazil currently grows some 29 different varieties of genetically-modified (GM) corn, as well as GM soybeans, there is a shortage of these commodities in the country that is causing chicken producers, who require such grains as feed, to look elsewhere. But the most obvious trade partner, the U.S. — which currently has a glut of GM corn ready to ship elsewhere — will not be gaining Brazil as a customer.
According to reports, there was not a single Brazilian import of U.S. corn in 2016, despite the fact that U.S. stockpiles of GM corn have never been larger. Companies in Brazil are refusing to buy American grain like GM corn because they know it will fail to meet Brazil’s strict agricultural standards.
“In recent years, some of the largest commodity trading companies have refused to take certain GMO crops from farmers because the seeds used hadn’t received a full array of global approvals, something that can lead to holdups at ports or even the rejection of entire cargoes,” Bloomberg recently reported.
Rather than risk importing a potentially dangerous load of U.S.-based GM corn that will likely get rejected by officials monitoring it at ports of entry anyway, chicken producers in particular are instead choosing to simply cut their output — in some cases by up to 10 percent — and just deal with the losses.
It is a problem that the U.S. will continue to face throughout the world market unless it reverses course and starts rejecting the unmitigated spread of GM crops by multinational corporations like Monsanto. The rest of the world wants nothing to do with these contaminated crops laced with glyphosate, which have been linked to chronic diseases like cancer.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, there are currently an astounding 43 different types of GM corn being grown in the U.S., with more coming down the pipeline. This is in addition to the many different types of GM soy, canola, cotton, and other crops that litter the American landscape.
Even in Brazil, where many different GM crops are grown, resistance to their use is growing. A labor group recently broke into a laboratory in São Paulo where GM prototypes were being grown. Activists destroyed the entire lot of samples, which numbered in the millions, because they contained a chemical pesticide known to cause cancer.
Brazil also faces global trade issues itself, as Russia, much of Europe, and various other countries across the globe have definitively rejected the cultivation and use of GM crops. If Brazil, the U.S., and other countries that allow GMOs want to remain relevant in the global agriculture trade, they are going to have to make some tough decisions, and soon.
“Russia recently banned all U.S. corn and soy imports due to possible GM contamination,” explains OrganicAndHealthy.org. “Nineteen additional countries in the E.U. also banned all GM crops, and dozens more have banned GM crops for import or growth in their country.”
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