Scientists have shattered a central claim by supporters of genetically modified (GM) crops. A study reported last week in top science journal Nature showed that genes from GM maize, produced by the Monsanto multinational, had contaminated wild maize in Mexico.
The wild maize was growing 62 miles from the nearest commercially farmed crops. The British government claims that a distance of 200 metres is enough to prevent GM crop contamination and crops grown at a distance of two kilometres (1.25 miles) have 'zero chance' of contamination.
The Mexican study was carried out by scientists from the University of California, and repeated and checked by Mexican government scientists. This is especially worrying in Mexico where maintaining and developing a variety of maize strains is vital in combating diseases and parasites.
More worryingly, the scientists believe the contamination did not come from crops growing in a field, but must have come from already harvested maize sent as food aid from the US to Mexico. The only rational response to this survey is a complete ban on growing or importing GM crops and products until more testing establishes what the real dangers are.