A controversial lobbyist who claimed that the chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was safe for humans refused to drink his own words when a French television journalist offered him a glass. “You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” Moore insists. “You want to drink some?” the interviewer asks. “We have some here.” “I’d be happy to, actually,” Moore replies, adding, “Not really. But I know it wouldn’t hurt me.” “If you say so, I have some,” the interviewer presses. “I’m not stupid,” Moore declares. “So, it’s dangerous?” the interviewer concludes. But Moore claims that Roundup is so safe that “people try to commit suicide” by drinking it, and they “fail regularly.” “Tell the truth, it’s dangerous,” the interviewer says. “It’s not dangerous to humans,” Moore remarks. “No, it’s not.” “So, are you ready to drink one glass?” the interviewer continues to press. “No, I’m not an idiot,” Moore says defiantly.
Toxic herbicide GLYPHOSATE, an active ingredient in Roundup, has been found in the breast milk of nursing mothers and in urine collected from people living far from the sites where Roundup is applied to crops. This means that it is IN OUR FOOD supply, on food crops, in processed foods of all kinds, including pediatric and feeding supplements for the most vulnerable children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. Monsanto tells us that Glyphosate does not accumulate in our bodies, but the research being conducted does not back up their statements. Only organically grown, Non GMO (genetically modified) food and food products are free from glyphosate and other toxic herbicides. How dangerous is GLYPHOSATE?
The perils of ingesting food that has any contact with a Monsanto-produced product are in the news on nearly a weekly basis. As Dr. Jeff Ritterman has documented, Monstanto’s herbicide, Roundup, has beenlinked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic, and has also been repeatedly linked to cancer. Recently, a senior research scientist at MIT predicted that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, will cause half of all children to have autism by 2025. Farmers in El Salvador are acutely aware of the importance of producing their own seeds, and avoiding those from the bioengineering giant.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not essential for feeding the world, but if by some massive stretch of the imagination they were to lead to increased productivity, did not harm the environment and did not negatively impact biodiversity and human health, would we be wise to embrace them anyhow? The fact is that GMO technology would still be owned and controlled by certain very powerful interests. In their hands, this technology is first and foremost an instrument of corporate power, a tool to ensure profit. Beyond that, it is intended to serve US global geopolitical interests. Indeed, agriculture has for a long time been central to US foreign policy.
In the face of overwhelming competition skewed by the rules of free trade, farmers in El Salvador have managed to beat the agricultural giants like Monsanto and Dupont to supply local corn seed to thousands of family farmers. Local seed has consistently outperformed the transnational product, and farmers helped develop El Salvador’s own domestic seed supply–all while outsmarting the heavy hand of free trade. This week, the Ministry of Agriculture released a new round of contracts to provide seed to subsistence farmers nationwide through its Family Agriculture Program. Last year, over 560,000 family farmers across El Salvador planted corn and bean seed as part of the government’s efforts to revitalize small scale agriculture, and ensure food security in the rural marketplace.
If you’re headed to Austin, Texas, next week to attend the “Southbites: Feed Your Mind”session during Austin’s South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive, don’t expect to hear an honest debate on the health and safety of genetically engineered crops or food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—at least not if the biotech industry can help it. According to Cathleen Enright, executive vice president food & agriculture, for the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO), there is nothing to debate. GMO agriculture is “sustainable” and GMO foods are “safe.” Anyone who says otherwise is making “scary” statements that have no basis in fact—because every shred of scientific evidence suggesting health or safety concerns related to GMOs “has been discredited,” Enright told me during a March 3 (2015) phone conversation.
The U.S. government and multinational corporations have capitalized on African nations’ voids in regulatory frameworks to push genetically modified (GM) crops, standing to gain lucrative corporate profits while decimating food sovereignty, a new report states. Released Monday from the African Centre for Biosafety and commissioned by environmental network Friends of the Earth International, Who benefits from GM crops? The expansion of agribusiness interests in Africa through biosafety policy (pdf) looks at how U.S. interests have used the mantra of addressing food security to push these crops despite local opposition. “The U.S., the world’s top producer of GM crops, is seeking new markets for American GM crops in Africa,” stated report author Haidee Swanby. “The U.S. administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops.”
Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have now filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge organizes the complex case so they can move forward. The dispute centers around Syngenta’s sale of a corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved it in 2010, and Syngenta first sold it to farmers in 2011. China, a growing importer of U.S. corn that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn’t tested, had not approved Viptera when Syngenta began selling it. In November 2013, China discovered the Viptera corn trait in several U.S. shipments.
On Friday, February 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the first genetically engineered apple, despite hundreds of thousands of petitions asking the USDA to reject it. In April 2013, we interviewed scientists about the genetic engineering technology used to create the Arctic Apple, whose only claim to fame is that it doesn’t turn brown when sliced. The benefit to consumers? Being able to eat apples without having any sense of how old they are? Here’s what we learned about the technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), from Professor Jack Heinemann (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Sarah Agapito-Tenfen (from Santa Catarina University in Brazil) and Judy Carman (Flinders University in South Australia), all of whom said that dsRNA manipulation is untested, and therefore inherently risky. . .
Poland’s biggest ever farmers’ protest is now entering its second week after closing down key motorways and main ‘A’ roads. Rallies and blockades have so far taken place in over 50 locations across the country involving thousands of small and family farmers. Over 150 tractors have been blockading the A2 motorway into Warsaw since the 3rd February and hundreds more have closed roads and are picketing governmental offices in other regions. The farmers are vowing to continue the struggle until the government agrees to enter talks with the union and address what the growing crisis in Polish agriculture, and roll back measures that unfairly discriminate against smaller family-run farms.
In an unprecedented and alarming move, the US Department of Agriculture has given GE tree company ArborGen permission to pursue commercial production of a genetically engineered (GE) loblolly pine with no regulatory oversight or environmental risk assessment. This decision was withheld from the US public for almost five months. This is the first genetically engineered forest tree to be approved for commercial production anywhere in the world (outside of China). The potential impacts to the public or to the environment will not be evaluated, and overwhelming public opposition to GE trees is being completely ignored. This decision sets a terrible and unacceptable precedent. If unchallenged, it will allow other GE trees, with even more dangerous traits, to be developed without any federal or public review.
Monsanto said Wednesday its earnings fell 34% in its first fiscal quarter, as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds. US farmers harvested record crops of soybeans and corn last year, sending prices on those food staples to their lowest levels in years. That has resulted in farmers in South America and elsewhere reducing the number of acres they dedicate to corn. Monsanto said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia. The agriculture products company’s revenue fell more than 8% to $2.87bn in the period, on lower sales of corn seeds and herbicide. Analysts expected $2.96bn, according to Zacks. The St Louis-based company reported a profit of $243m, or 50 cents per share, down from $368m, or 69 cents per share in the same period last year.
U.S. Right to Know – a new nonprofit organization — released a new report today on Big Food’s PR campaign to defend GMOs: how it manipulated the media, public opinion and politics with sleazy tactics, bought science and PR spin. Since 2012, the agrichemical and food industries have mounted a complex, multifaceted public relations, advertising, lobbying and political campaign in the United States, costing more than $100 million, to defend genetically engineered food and crops and the pesticides that accompany them. The purpose of this campaign is to deceive the public, to deflect efforts to win the right to know what is in our food via labeling that is already required in 64 countries, and ultimately, to extend their profit stream for as long as possible.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover. Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine.