On March 13, Brazil's Federal Court of Appeals unanimously decided to annul the Technical Committee on National Security's (CTNBio) previous decision to approve the use of genetically modified LibertyLink corn.
LibertyLink corn was developed by Bayer CropScience and is engineered to be resistant to Bayer's Liberty herbicide. When CTNBio approved the GMO (genetically modified organism) in 2007, they ignored the lack of studies performed on the crop and the environmental and health concerns presented at the meeting. They also disregarded their legal duties to evaluate the risks and impacts of GMOs, as many Committee members wrongly just assumed that GM corn would be safe.
Now, however, that approval has been overturned in a Civil Action brought to the Federal Court of Appeals of the 4th Circuit by Terra de Direitos (Land Rights), the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense, the National Association of Small Farmers and AS-PTA (Family Farming and Agroecology), which challenged the legality of the commercial release of Liberty Link.
"Federal Judge Candido Silva Alfredo Leal Junior, read excerpts from his long ruling for about an hour and a half, supporting the need for studies on the negative impacts of GMOs in all biomes. According to Leal Junior, not enough studies have been carried out in other countries, because the law requires that the decision of CTNBio is supported by studies that assess the impact of GMOs on each of the major biomes," reported Terra de Direitos, as translated by GMWatch and Google. "In addition, the judge ordered CTNBio to develop standards to enable society to access documents in the [industry] dossier processed by the Commission, allowing a qualified participation of the population in the process of trade liberalization."
Thanks to this decision, Bayer's GM maize can not be marketed in north and northeast Brazil, where studies have not been conducted. It has also created new legal paradigms and may catalyze a review of all other commercial releases of GMOs in Brazil.
"The court decision today is an important element that will add to the people's struggle for a model of agriculture based on agroecology, which guarantees rights for farmers and healthy food without pesticides for the population," said Fernando Prioste, the lawyer representing Terra de Direitos in the case.