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The Monsanto Menace

The feds see no evil as a belligerent strongman seeks control of America's food supply.

Last month, Harvell's GM-labeling law overwhelmingly passed the Maine House (141-4) and Senate (35-0) and awaits the governor's signature. That makes Maine the second state (nine days after Connecticut) to pass a GM-labeling law.

The Right to Know movement has picked up steam since chemical companies defeated California's labeling initiative, thanks to a $46 million publicity campaign full of deceptive statements. A recent ABC News poll found that 93 percent of Americans surveyed support GM labeling.

When Vermont raised the issue a year ago, a Monsanto official indicated that the company might sue. But the states are smart. The new laws in both Maine and Connecticut won't take effect until other states pass similar legislation so they can share defense costs.

University of Wisconsin Law School professor Peter Carstensen notes that Monsanto's seed police are the Pinkertons. "These are the strikebreakers, the railroad goons. It's deja vu all over again."
University of Wisconsin Law School professor Peter Carstensen notes that Monsanto's seed police are the Pinkertons. "These are the strikebreakers, the railroad goons. It's deja vu all over again."
"They're a pesticide company that's bought up seed firms," says Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Safety. "Business-wise, it's a beautiful, really smart strategy. It's just awful for agriculture and the environment."
"They're a pesticide company that's bought up seed firms," says Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Safety. "Business-wise, it's a beautiful, really smart strategy. It's just awful for agriculture and the environment."

What's interesting is that Harvell, by his own admission, is a very conservative Republican. Yet on this issue, left and right have the same quest for greater caution.

"God gave the seed to the earth and the fruit to the trees," Harvell says. "Notice it didn't say he granted Monsanto a patent. The human body has developed with its seeds. You're making a major leap into Pandora's Box – a quantum leap that maybe the human body isn't ready to make yet."

As more information comes out, it's increasingly clear that GM seed isn't the home run it's portrayed to be. It encourages greater pesticide use, which has a negative impact on the environment and our bodies. And whether or not GM food is safe to eat, it poses a real threat to biodiversity through monopolization of the seed industry and the kind of farming monoculture that inspires.

Meanwhile, a study by the University of Canterbury in England found that non-GM crops in America and Europe are increasing their yields faster than GM crops.

"All this talk about feeding the world, it's really PR," explains Wenonah Hauter, the author of Foodopoly and executive director of Food & Water Watch. "The hope is to get into these new markets, force farmers to pay for seed, then start changing the food and eating habits of the developing world."

Since farming is such a timeworn tradition, there's a tendency to take it for granted, and that worries a lot of people. But as much as he hates GM, Bryce Stephens is sanguine.

"I've seen changes since I was little to where it is now," the Kansas farmer says. "I don't think it will last. This land and these people here have gone through cycles of boom and bust. We're just in another cycle, and it will be something different."

Providing we don't break it irreparably first.

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2 comments
AmaRose
AmaRose

Thank you for this wonderfully insightful article. So many argue we need GM crops to keep the cost of food down and you have squashed that in this article and you have shed light on these modern day tyrants. I did however stumble across this article to find restaurants that through there partnerships support Monsanto. Would you know more on that? I am anti Monsanto I gear toward buying Organic but everyone likes to go out to eat every now and again. I want to make sure I am not supporting these monsters when I do. Thanks, Ama Rose

paval
paval

Excellent article, but being a food article it should have added some of the likely bad boys in the supermarket shelves for GMO content:

- Huge commercial chocolate makers use soy lecithin as an emulsifier. A very high percentage of all soy grown in the US is GMO. Look for non-GMO soy lecithin labeling on Chocolate bars

- anything containing corn (HFCS, syrup, starch, etc) in any form is rather suspicious, specially if its used instead of sugar. That means its used to make a cheaper product not necessarily better. Huge red flag in my book

-  soy products produced in the US due to the high amount of soy being produced in GMO

- cottonseed oil, the new mass usage oil of the food industry

read further on http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/ 


Labeling is always the best way. If you want to be a cheap producer and use everything the cheapest. But label it as such so consumers can decide if they want it or not. I am certain most consumers will decide against the bad stuff.

 
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