Peruvian Franken-Corn Defamation Case Update



Last month, I reported on the outrageous case in Peru in which an activist researcher, Antonietta Gutiérrez, sued a fellow scientist, Ernesto Bustamante for defamation after he published a newspaper column in which he asserted that her claims to have found biotech corn "contamination" in Peru were unlikely. Gutiérrez evidently managed to convince a court that scientific criticism amounts to a personal attack. So Bustamante is guilty of defamation and he could be fined or even sent to jail.

Now scientists at the Peruvian National Institute for Agrarian Innovation have done their own study and found  no biotech corn "contamination." The Institute checked samples from 134 different fields for the presence of genes that might have come from cross-breeding with biotech varieties and found none.

In any case, the notion of biotech "contamination" is scientifically bogus. In a similar case in Mexico, director of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Irapuato, Luis Herrera-Estrella noted,

"There is no scientific basis for believing that out-crossing from biotech crops could endanger maize biodiversity. Gene flow between commercial and native varieties is a natural process that has been occurring for many decades. Nor is there reason to believe that these genes will become fixed into landraces unless farmers select them for their increased productivity. In the end, that would result in improving the native varieties."

I don't know about Peruvian law, but in the U.S. truth is a defense against claims of libel and slander.

NEXT: On Being a 21st-Century Peasant

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  1. I don’t know about Peruvian law, but in the U.S. truth is a defense against claims of libel and slander.

    Not in the Court of Environmentalist Truth.

    1. ^^ This. Being on the side of the angels is all important these days.

    2. Why does Ernesto Bustamante HATE gaia!!111!111!11!100100100111101011010!!!!

      Also: Bustamante. Ok, one more time: Bustamante. I’ll stop now. Online at least…I’m going to keep enjoying that name all day.

    3. There is no Truth. There are many truths. When one denies the politically correct truth or affirms a politically incorrect truth, one is guilty of libel.

      It’s pretty easy for anybody to understand unless they cling to hopelessly dated notions like “objective reality” or Reason.

  2. I don’t know about Peruvian law, but in the U.S. truth is a defense against claims of libel and slander.

    So long as you don’t live in Massachusetts that is.

    1. US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit covers not only Massachusetts, but also Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.

  3. What does “contamination” of “corn” even mean? The “corn” in the fields bears as little resemblance to the corn originally foud on the continent as Scarlett Johansson to Moms Mabley.…..597?q=moms mabley&FROM=LKVR5&GT1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR1

  4. I don’t know about Peruvian law, but in the U.S. truth is a defense against claims of libel and slander.

    So I can call Antonietta Guti?rrez a worthless piece of shit and not get sued, then. Good to know.

    1. As long as we don’t have an extradition treaty with Peru.

      1. Or live in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Puerto Rico.

        1. FUCK PUERTO RICO, they had their chance to grab some power and they voted not to be a state.

          I say enslave them all.

          1. (Or did Nike beat me to it?)

  5. You know what comes from Peru and is awesome? Coca tea.

    1. Are you just trying to get yourself set up for a DEA raid, Warty? If you don’t like your dog, there are many fine rescue organizations that will find a home for it. You don’t have to get a SWAT team to come out and kill it.

    2. How did that turn out? Help your diet?

      1. It’s very pleasant. Wakes me up a lot more effectively than caffeine, and with no jitters.

  6. “I don’t know about Peruvian law, but in the U.S. truth is a defense against claims of libel and slander.”

    I don’t know about Peruvian law either, but I can tell you that in Panama, this guy would be in jail. The truth is NOT a defense there.

    1. If the genes ain’t in the shit,
      You must acquit.

      1. “See this wookie? He’s not genetically modified at all, but he lives on Endor…”

        1. Ah, yes, the Chewbacca Defense… thank you Jackie.

  7. You learn something new every day: I had previously thought “Franken-Corn” was any alleged joke delivered by Minnesota’s Senator Al.

  8. When an organism is genetically engineered to produce genes taken from a bacteria that it would NEVER have had by any process in nature without human tampering (since corn and bacteria aren’t even in the same kingdom). Then allow this corn to cross-pollinate freely with other types of corn (corn is wind pollinated so this would be impossible to stop). This genetically altered corn cross breeds with normal corn varieties and produces a third variety that is impossible to predict no matter the amount of testing done in labs since labs are sterile unrealistic environments that will never replace the infinite possibilities and variables of the natural world. I think the far reaching implications of releasing something like this into the food stream is not only IMPOSSIBLE to predict but HIGHLY dangerous. Nature isn’t legos and building blocks, you can’t just remove and add whatever you like at the molecular level and think things will be ok.

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