FILE PHOTO: The Bayer AG logo is seen in a German drugmaker showroom where the annual results press conference is held in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2020. REUTERS / Wolfgang Rattay
By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Bayer is evaluating its legal options after Mexican health regulators for the first time refused to grant it a GM corn permit it had applied for, the German pharmaceutical and crop giant said on Friday, criticizing the decision. as “unscientific”.
Reuters reported earlier on Friday that the regulator, Cofepris, refused to grant an endorsement for a new variety of corn, necessary for future importation into Mexico, in a sign of the government’s tightening of the government’s position on genetically modified crops.
“We are disappointed by the unscientific reasons why COFEPRIS denied approval in Mexico,” Bayer said in a response to a Reuters request, identifying that the rejected corn variety uses its proprietary HT3 x SmartStax Pro technology.
Bayer stressed that the denial of the permit does not affect its current business, noting that last year the company stopped working on its hybrid HT3 maize varieties due to regulatory delays in the European Union in favor of a new HT4 line that the company expects. release later this decade.
However, Bayer criticized what it described as continuing regulatory delays for Cofepris, as well as the possibility of further permits being denied that could have a “devastating impact” on Mexican supply chains.
The company said genetically modified crops, including corn, have undergone more safety tests than “any other crop in the history of agriculture” and have been deemed safe for humans, animals and the environment.
The Cofepris press office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a controversial decree late last year outlining a three-year plan to ban the herbicide glyphosate and transgenic corn for human consumption.
Industry associations have harshly criticized the plan and tried unsuccessfully to stop the plan in court, arguing that there is a risk of a trade dispute with the United States.
If the ban is interpreted to include corn for livestock feed or other industrial uses, they say it will ultimately hit consumers with higher food prices.
The planned ban, however, is popular with environmentalists and food health advocates who argue that spraying glyphosate on GM crops designed to tolerate them is actually harmful.
Glyphosate was promoted by the Roundup brand of herbicides of the agrochemical company Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer as part of a $ 63 billion acquisition in 2018.
(Reporting by David Alire García, translated by Sharay Angulo and Adriana Barrera)