Monsanto comes under scrutiny in Puerto Rico
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by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, CorpWatch Blog
June 19th, 2013
Monsanto has refused to testify at a major government hearing about the development and sale of seeds in Puerto Rico. At stake is the research that the company conducts into genetic engineering on the island that critics say threaten the environment and can cause serious human health problems.
The Puerto Rico Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing last Monday on a bill (PS624) that would create a Seed Board and a certification and licensing system to regulate the development and sale of seeds in Puerto Rico.
Technically Torres-Collazo is correct on at least one count - all the harvest produced by Monsanto and other transnational seed enterprises in the island is exported for use abroad as seed. A major market is the U.S. where most corn and soy is derived from genetically modified varieties.
But Puerto Rico has also been a major location for the development of genetically modified crops since 1987, conducting open air field tests on corn and soy, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Crops developed on the island and other Monsanto research locations have a number of unusual properties – some are resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide or any herbicide with glyphosate as active ingredient. Others secrete an insecticidal toxin called Bt and there are even combination strains that combine both these traits.