Food supplies have grown so unstable in South Africa that the government may soon allow imports of some genetically modified foods, which were previously under tight restrictions, in order to fend off a food crisis. GM corn maize crops from the United States and Mexico may soon be crossing the borders to make up for 3.8 million metric tons of corn crops that South African farmers are unable to grow due to severe drought. Amid fears of cross-contamination of GM crops, the government is considering making exceptions to tough regulations in order to continue to feed people.
South Africa is plagued by severe drought, much like that which is devastating croplands in California, and government leaders have decided to relax the regulations on GM imports in order to stave off a potential food crisis. Until now, close to 90 percent of South Africa’s corn crops were genetically modified, but the nation didn’t allow imports of certain strains and barred imports from being stored. The government intends to make some exceptions to those regulations to allow for imports from the US and Mexico, which are the only supplies available that could fill the deficit from lost domestic crop production.
Makenosi Maroo, spokeswoman at the Department of Agriculture, said there would be no changes to the regulations related to safety or risk management procedures. “In anticipation of the volumes expected to be imported into South Africa, the (GMO) Executive Council has approved the adjustment of a permit condition which relates to the handling requirement,” Maroo said.
The South African government hasn’t said when the regulations will be relaxed or whether the changes will be permanent.
Via The Guardian