The Case Against Monsanto

by Carrie Holland
    

      The way food is produced and consumed encompasses a kaleidoscope of environmental, ethical, economic, and health rights issues.  Each one of these issues cannot be taken as separate but instead must be seen as part of the bigger picture; indeed, our consumption of food and support of particular production systems speaks to a larger socio-geographical order.  What effect do we want food to have on our bodies?  How much information are producers obliged to share with consumers on their product?  Unfortunately not all systems of food production are equal. 

      Though Monsanto started out as a chemical engineering company, it has become most well known for its production of Roundup, a commercial herbicide.  Roundup is a highly economical and powerful weed suppressant, killing all plants –weeds or crops – in its path.  In order to produce crops resistant to Roundup, Monsanto has created Round-up Ready soybeans, a Genetically Modified seed spliced with genes from other creatures to produce resistance.  Other Genetically Modified (GM) foods produced by the company include Corn, Cottonseed Oil, Potatoes, Canola (Rapeseed), Sugarbeet, Rice, and more. 1 

  • GMOs are being spread in our food supply--- either through unmarked distribution or as fed to livestock--- without proper testing on their effects.  In essence, human consumers are test subjects for this dangerous product.
  • Some diseases known to be caused by GMOs can remain dormant for up to thirty years, and most products were introduced starting in the 1990’s
  • However, we already do have some examples of the link between cancer and GMOs
What’s Wrong with GMOs?  

Milk

  • rBGH injections increase another hormone in cows called IGF-1 which has been linked in over 60 studies to colon, breast, and prostrate cancer

Cotton

  • Former Monsanto employee Kirk Azevedo linked gene insertion (of intended GMO genes) to the unintended development of improperly folded problems, which have been linked to mad cow disease
  • In April 2006 70 Indian shepherds reported that 25% of their herds died within 5-7 days of continuous grazing on Bt cotton plants (GM cotton)
  • In 1989 37 Americans died as a result of taking a genetically engineered brand of L-tryptophan, a common dietary supplement
Further Cases of Toxins and Poisons
  • In 1999 Dr. Arpad Pusztai directed a study correlating the consumption of GE potatoes and damage of vital organs in lab rats 
Abuse of power and future goals of domination
  • Alternatively, Monsanto is marketing GE seeds as intellectual property, meaning that if their GE seeds cross pollinate with a farmer’s own seeds, they may sue the farmer and are entitled to receive a portion of his sales (see the case of Percy Schmeiser)
  • Monsanto is trying to criminalize the process of seed saving, asserting that all seeds must be considered intellectual property that must be trademarked and registered – a nearly impossible task for seed savers (unless they are able to invest in very costly government approved ‘seed cleaning’ machines, which most farmers are unable to afford)
  • One of the largest GE products out on the market are Round up Ready Soybeans.  In one study only 2% of Roundup materials degraded after 28 days.  Other studies have found Roundup to be highly toxic and suggests it is highly probable that it provokes cells to breakdown and become cancerous (although we would have to wait 40 years to be sure),  This study was done with significantly lower quantities of Roundup than is typically used on crops, so typical consumption is in reality much more dangerous than this study exposed
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