Costa Rican activists demand right to know GM field locations

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On September 11, 2014, the Sala IV declared the country’s approval process for GMO projects unconstitutional because it violates the right of Costa Ricans to access information that could affect their health and well-being.

The case was brought to the court by the Ombudsman’s Office on behalf of several anti-GMO groups including Bloque Verde.

The ruling does not ban GMOs in the country, but will require the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry to design a more transparent GMO approval process, and release information that has been kept from the public in the past.

The Ombudsman’s Office also argued that because the GMO approval process does not require an environmental impact assessment it violates the constitutional right to a safe and healthy environment, but the court disagreed.

“For us this is a great triumph,” Fabián Pacheco, the leader of Bloque Verde, told The Tico Times. “What we want now is to know exactly where each GMO crop is planted.”

The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry has yet to declare how this ruling will affect GMO projects that were previously approved, including a request from biotechnology giant Monsanto to grow 35 hectares of genetically modified corn that was approved last January. There are currently no GMO corn projects in Costa Rica, and the request’s approval set off a firestorm of protests from environmentalists and health advocates. Because corn pollinates using the air, GMO opponents worry that Monsanto corn seeds could mix with and eventually wipe out native corn species.

Read the full, original story here: Following court ruling, anti-GMO activists ask for map of transgenic farms

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