Tag Archives: Monsanto

Monsanto’s Activities This Week

17 Sep

If you were looking for the latest news on genetically modified seeds, Monsanto did not disappoint this week.

First of all, The Daily Show decided that their target audience might enjoy a little Monsanto enlightenment, which you can find here. Aasif Mandvi learns that greedy farmers have threatened the livelihood of Monsanto’s heroic patent attorneys.

Then there was the quiet passing of an extension to the “The Monsanto Protection Act” last Tuesday, as part of a budget rider that:

“shields biotech behemoths like Monsanto, Cargill and others from the threat of lawsuits and bars federal courts from intervening to force an end to the sale of a GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects.”

Next there was the acknowledgement by Washington State agriculture officials that traits of low level genetically modified seeds were found in a farmer’s alfalfa crop, preventing him from exporting his crop. Of note is that if traces of genetically modified plants are found in farmer’s (non GM) fields from contamination, Monsanto sues the farmer for all he’s got. But when such contamination stops a farmer from selling his crop, Monsanto brings up the “conspiracy theory” argument that somebody else was responsible.

And lastly it’s of interest that Monsanto contributed $4.6M to defeat passage of a genetically modified labeling bill in Washington State, making the total dollar contributions against passage 3 times greater than contributions for passage of such a bill.

It seems that a lot of folks in the US are starting to take the threat of genetically modified crops seriously.


Consumer Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods

3 Sep

There has been growth in the organic food segment and, organics cannot contain any GMOs per the USDA. Now with the push to identify GMO products with labels and non-GMO products with labels, the decision by the consumer is becoming easier.


If GMO products were so great for the environment and our health, you’d think the industry would want to specifically identify products as GMO. The response from Monsanto is:

 “Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.”

 The implication from that statement is that there is no “meaningful difference” between GMO and Organic, so per the FDA, no specific labels are required.

As the bio-engineering industry fights the labeling of GMOs, food suppliers are moving toward promoting non-GMO products. A common quote from the president of Whole Foods is that “…some of their suppliers have seen sales increases of 15 percent in foods they have labeled… (non-GMO)”.

Whole Foods business is currently 40% organic. As they drive to label GMOs in their stores, and Chipotle restaurants do the same, we should soon see in the mainstream Kroger’s and Safeway stores non-GMO products being placed directly next to their GMO counterparts. At that time, the market will determine the fate of GMO products. The consumer is in control of this issue and we are indeed reaching a tipping point.


Genetically Modified Bees to Save the Bees

29 Jul

Worldwide there are concerns about the health of bee populations. The threat to the bees is tied to neonicotinoids among other things. Monsanto in 2012, purchased Beelogic and apparently plans to genetically modify bees in order to save them from the chemicals.

In a related development, the Agriculture Department of Illinois took the bee population from a renowned naturalist who had been developing bees that naturally were resistant to RoundUp/ Glyphosate. Of particular note is that the bees were taken without a warrant or a court hearing. It is suspect that Monsanto had made the request although the State of Illinois claims they were taken due to a routine inspection that uncovered bacteria in the colonies. Terrence Ingram, the naturalist, can be seen on this YouTube video.

Terrence had his day in court, but was convicted and fined $500. The only problem was that he was unable to defend himself, by proving the bees were not infected with foulbrood, as the bees had been confiscated and (apparently) destroyed.

On another note, in Europe, Monsanto has decided to give up their push into genetically modified seeds and limit the sales of seeds in Europe to those that are not GMO. The popularity of GMO seeds was not being met with enough business success, especially with the beekeepers in Poland.

US Food Additives

22 Jul

When it comes to food additives you have to give credit where credit is due. In the US, industry has determined that intervention into natural processes will lead to lower costs, more consumption, and ultimately higher profits.

MSN’s Healthy Living segment listed what they think are the top 10 things the US diet includes that are banned in some other countries. Not listed in order are:

  1. Arsenic
  2. BHA and BHT
  3. Brominated vegetable oil
  4. Colors and dyes
  5. Olestra
  6. Potassium bromate
  7. Ractopamine (Banned in Europe, Japan, China, Russia and Taiwan)
  8. rBGH and rBST (bovine growth hormone, genetically engineered from Monsanto)
  9. Hawaiian papaya (now genetically engineered)
  10. Canthaxanthin (Farm-raised salmon coloring… soon to be genetically engineered)

In each instance, the risks may be acknowledged by the American Cancer Society, FDA, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the food industry, but whatever the risks may be, they are deemed acceptable for the American diet.

The Huffington Post’s Big Ag’s Gifts for 2012 brings to bear another additive of concern, antibiotics. The fact that over 70% of all the antibiotics in the US are pumped into animals for human consumption should in itself be a concern. Add to that the increasing lack of effectiveness in antibiotics due to their overuse and you’ve got a real problem.

If you want to make a difference in your own health, and improve the health of the planet, choose to not consume animal and dairy products.

The World Food Prize and Angry Mermaid Award

21 Jun

Monsanto was awarded the World Food Prize for the development of the ability to insert foreign genes into plants. The award, here in the US, is released by the nonprofit World Food Award Foundation, whose contributions include $5M from Monsanto in 2008.

GMO products are banned in Europe. They have a different award. In Copenhagen, Monsanto was awarded the Angry Mermaid Award for many achievements, including the same ability to insert foreign genes into plants.

A YouTube video entitled Seeds of Death is an hour and 19 minute perspective on GMO products and their impact on our planet.

Protests Against Monsanto

27 May

Marches formed this past Saturday in 52 different countries, including 436 different cities to protest Monsanto products and their impact on the global food supply.


And these protesters are being identified by the Monsanto CEO as “elitists”. By the way, the CEO of Monsanto, who is calling these protesters elitists pocketed $14.4M in 2012. Although the pay limit is to max out at 200% of its annual target, the Monsanto board voted to extend Mr. Grant’s pay to 265% for 2012. One might call Mr. Hugh Grant an elitist.

It appears that the Monsanto corporate objective to make money, is getting in the way of making friends. Their claim that they are solving the world’s hunger problems is questionable at best.

Currently, no human testing has been done on GMO’s and little to no testing has been published on the effects of GMO’s on animals, yet people are eating GMO’s everyday.”

Why is that so? You might ask. Since the introduction in the 1990’s, the companies that produce GMO products forbid the independent testing of their products, even on rats. One might think that something consumed globally would be worthy of making sure it was safe for “long term” human consumption. Patent laws are funny that way.


Monsanto’s Latest Victory

15 May

Monsanto won a settlement against a small farmer this last week in Indiana. The farmer had bought genetically modified seed, grew crops with that seed, and used the excess seed for planting in future years. The judges in a unanimous ruling said he had violated patent law, which he did. The lawsuit has also expanded the FUD factor among organic farmers. FUD is that ever successful marketing campaign that stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

The ultimate goal of Monsanto is to replace all natural seed with their “patented seeds”, genetically modified of course. And along with that, produce matching “patented” pesticides designed specifically to be sprayed on the resulting crops. And to further that effort and to maximize profits, produce seed that is incapable of generating useful seed from its crops. So, every year, every farmer in the world would have to pay Monsanto for their seed, or not be able to grow crops. That is if Monsanto achieves its goal. I encourage you to watch The World According to Monsanto.

Another tactic used to further expand its market since 1997, has been to take small farmers to court. (An official explanation from Monsanto is available online.) These farmers may simply have been trying to grow organic produce, while surrounded by fields of genetically modified crops. Seed from the GMO fields drift onto the organic land. The contaminated fields are sampled for GMO plants. Once the GMO plants are found, Monsanto sues the farmer. You can imagine the ability of a small farmer to defend from such litigation. Most farmers simply back down, or sell out.

If you think the chemical companies are not being successful in displacing mother nature, check out an article from Mother Jones. If you think that we don’t fully understand what GMO products are doing to our bodies, don’t read it.

If you want to jump on the profit margins from this world changing strategy, go long MON, DD, and DOW.