Brazil has officially joined the growing list of countries that are refusing GMO imports from the United States. Along with over 30 other countries, Brazil has declared a ban on GM crops amid health concerns.
This could be a major game changer, as Brazil leads the world production of sugar cane and is the second largest producer of soybeans. 93 percent of soybeans in the United States are genetically modified.
The rejection of GMO grains has begun to cause feed shortages in the livestock industry. Increased regulations have stalled imports from the U.S. to Brazil. According to Bloomberg, “In recent years, some of the largest commodity trading companies have refused to take certain GMO crops from farmers because the seeds used hadn’t received a full array of global approvals, something that can lead to holdups at ports or even the rejection of entire cargoes.”
Brazil originally banned GM products in 1998, but amended it in 2003 to include measures to regulate sales through the use of warning labels. Last years Brazil’s Consumer Protection Agency fined several companies, Including Nestle and Pepsico, for failing to label their GMO products. This was followed by the country rejecting certain GMO foods, such as corn.
However, there seems to be a catch. Currently, Brazil is the second largest producer of GM crops in the world (the United States is the first). 93% of their soybeans, 90% of their corn, and 60% of their cotton is genetically modified. So Brazil’s motivation for rejecting GM crops from their competitors may be related to trade and not health.
As of 2015, there were 38 countries that had banned GM crops. 19 of these nations are from Europe and include Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.