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GMO Corn in México: Precaution as Law’s Decolonial Option


For over six years now, the law has been central to policy debates about genetically modified organism (GMO) corn in México, the birthplace of maíz (corn). In the lawsuit Colectividad del Maíz, the domestic courts have shaped the policy on GMO corn. Out of concern for biodiversity, the courts have suspended regulatory approval for commercial GMO corn permits needed by seed companies. This article uses decolonial theory to examine how the law can both encourage and limit the use of GMOs. Decolonial perspectives isolate how economics, legal authorities, and ideologies work in unison to shape relations between the Global South and private interests. This is accomplished by defining the subject of any such legal regulations. Different legal doctrines treat GMOs in different and distinct ways. Under the doctrines of biosecurity, intellectual property, and international trade law, markets and biotechnology benefit as the subject of the law. Such doctrines disenfranchise maíz nativo (non-GMO corn) by making it the law’s object. The article also adopts Bruno Latour’s theory of “down to earth” politics to identify important changes in GMO regulations. Collective action litigation has limited the expansion of GMO corn via the application of precautionary principle measures and motivated new legislation in México.

Published: 2020-11-21
Pages:97 to 113
Section: Symposium: What is Real about Law and Technology?
How to Cite
Hernández-López, Ernesto A. 2020. “GMO Corn in México: Precaution As Law’s Decolonial Option”. Law, Technology and Humans 2 (2):97-113.

Author Biography

Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
United States United States

Ernesto Hernández-López is Professor of Law at the Fowler School of Law, Chapman University, United States.  His current research focuses on international law, post-colonialism, law and culture, law and food, and immigration.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074