Blog » creating change » Monsanto: A Beginner’s Guide To The World’s Most Dangerous Corporation (2015)

Monsanto: A Beginner’s Guide To The World’s Most Dangerous Corporation (2015)

monsanto

 

Today, over 400 protests in 38 nations will join a grassroots effort called March Against Monsanto. But who is Monsanto and why should you know about them?

You may not think you’re familiar with Monsanto, but you probably eat Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) created by them every day. Monsanto created the first GMO in 1985 but only in the past few years has their use become widespread in our food supply. (How are GMOs created?) 

The most common way Monsanto uses GMOs is to artificially manipulate a crop so that it can withstand a specific type of all-purpose poison. They sell both the genetically modified seed as well as the poison. The engineering allows the farmer to blanket the crops in pesticides and while the GMO is unaffected everything else is killed. While there are GMOs for a wide variety of crops Monsanto has focused its attention on several strategic markets, for example 93% of soybeans and 86% of corn are now GMO—and these numbers continue to rise.

Monsanto and its supporters, claim that their products are not only safe but necessary to feed a world that may run out of food otherwise, but critics contend both points.

Human and Environmental Health

The company website states: “[T]he overwhelming scientific evidence shows there are no significant differences between ‘organic’ and ‘conventional’ crops in terms of taste, nutrition and safety.” The 2010 study that is cited focuses on nutritional content being roughly equal between GMO and natural foods. The logic is that if a GMO orange has roughly the same vitamin C content as a non-GMO orange then there is nothing to worry about. However, the same study specifically states that “This review does not address contaminant content (such as herbicide, pesticide and fungicide residues)… or the environmental impacts…”

Meanwhile, researchers have claimed that the GMO giant has thwarted attempts to pursue research that may show ill effects. Studies have shown links between GMO food and Celiac disease. There are also significant indirect consequences to the widespread adoption of Monsanto’s products such as a dramatic increase in nitrogen run-off which is creating dead zones in the oceans, the rise of “super weeds,” and an alarming mass die off of bees. In the most serious dissension from the official company line yet, in March 2015, the World Health Organization announced that according to it’s own findings the active ingredient in Monsanto pesticides is a “probable carcinogenic.”

(Even more studies.)

World Hunger

The world’s population is growing quickly and there are hundreds of millions of people that go to bed hungry each night. GMO crops are designed to increase yield and while some studies suggest it may not be as significant as once claimed, it is generally accepted that GMOs are successful here. It is an easy leap to assume that because people are hungry the problem is a lack of food, but the reality is a bit more complex. We currently grow 50% more food than we need to feed every man woman and child on earth and food production is already outpacing population growth. Hunger is caused by inequality and poverty rather than scarcity–meaning the problem is not a lack of food but the fact that many people can not afford market prices and it is more profitable to let food waste than make it affordable for everyone.

Why Monsanto?

There are other bio-tech companies profiting from GMOs but Monsanto has been the lightening rod of criticism. Part of that is their own ugly history. Before Monsanto created their first GMO they created other controversial products that have since been proven to have unintended long term health and environmental consequences, such as DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. They also pour huge amounts of money to defeat any effort to legislate GMO food labeling and have been accused of using tactics pioneered by big tobacco to influence the public’s perception about their products safety.

Solutions

There is a growing global resistance against Monsanto. Farmers and activists have been burning fields of GMO crops, but increasingly activists are pushing for labeling laws that would allow consumers to decide if they want to buy GMO products. Currently 64 nations require GMO labeling and the list continues to grow. But it is still an uphill battle. Monsanto has become particularly entrenched in the United States where is has its headquarters but even there progress is being made. Whole Foods and Chipotle have announced plans to phase out all GMO ingredients. Vermont also became the first state to require GMO labels on food, though Monsanto and others are suing the state and trying to stop the law from taking effect.

These are just the basics. There is an enormous amount of information out there and a growing number of organizations working to create change. Read the links here, share this story, do your own research and get involved.

Posted in creating change, food and tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 comments on “Monsanto: A Beginner’s Guide To The World’s Most Dangerous Corporation (2015)

  • Good for VT ! I wish other states or even the FDA required similar. Choice always a good thing, and choice W/o knowledge is chance

  • The 1% must eat organic!!! It makes me think about the commons being affected and the 1% need to find a solution to over population, air & water pollution and the dying off of species like fish in our oceans. Could a solution be killing off the 99% by feeding them poisons. It is ironic how cancer is more prevalent than ever before in fact, according to WHO approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 alone. Call me silly but that is an epidemic in my opinion.

  • How many public pension system’s board of trustees have decided to invest the little people’s money in the stock of Monsanto? How many universities board of regents have done the same? What mutual funds, what hedge funds, what other funds have invested in this company? But more importantly, why are pension based employees who are paying into this … why are college students who’s tuition in part is paying into this … why are American Taxpayers who are ALL paying into public and private pension systems keeping quiet not demanding to know the truth that matters. Who Is Investing into this corporation and why? Follow the god of money.

    I wrote the above series of questions and have been a Chairman for one and Executive Director for two large public pension system intervention turnarounds. Years ago I was a CPA, a securities licensed series 7 & 63 holder, and an organizational interventionist in over 550 American businesses, coast-to-coast.

    Now with all the piss and vinegar nearly spent, and as a 70+ year old man, all I can now do … is to offer up a few Intelligent Questions (IQ’s) for others to carry the torch of truth … essential to change the corporate-political-cultural system that is destroying the truth and ethos of a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    If you do not personally copy and share these IQ’s around the world, guess who it was that in a silent part of non-action . . . helped to destroy the hopes for human dignity in the 21st Century.

  • labelling is not enough. gmo must be squelched completely!!

  • Larry Doversberger

    May 23, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Reply

    I’m sure TPP will put an end to GMO labelling.

  • Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri. With the exception of weapons manufacturers and other private military firms, there is perhaps no corporation that provides such a dramatic example of corporate influence over government. Not only does Monsanto spend a staggering $8 million a year lobbying government officials (imagine 80 full-time lobbyists each paid $100,000 a year), but many former Monsanto executives hold key positions in the FDA, EPA and USDA, where they have made favorable regulatory decisions regarding Monsanto products.

    One of those products, recombinant bovine somatotropin, commonly known as “bovine growth hormone” (rBGH), is a synthetic hormone injected into cows to increase milk production. It also increases levels a substance called IGF-1 in their milk, which is then passed on to humans. Elevated blood serum levels of IGF-1 have been linked in numerous studies to breast, colon and prostate cancer. For this reason, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all 27 European Union countries have banned the use of rBGH. The FDA’s highly controversial 1993 decision approving rBGH was overseen by former Monsanto attorney, Michael R. Taylor, who was serving as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Policy. After the decision Taylor left the FDA and again joined Monsanto, becoming the company’s chief lobbyist and Vice President for Public Policy. He has since gone back and forth between Monsanto and various government positions in the FDA and the USDA, highlighting the “revolving door syndrome” that has become a hallmark of corporate-government collusion. He was last appointed by Obama as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Foods in 2010.

    Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops consist primarily of those modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup (another Monsanto product) and those modified to contain within their cells the biological pesticide called Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt). Widespread health and environmental concerns over both these types of GM plants are based on numerous scientific studies and have resulted in many countries banning GM crops entirely. In the European Union a moratorium on new GM crops has been in effect since 1998 and strict labeling is required on all genetically modified food products approved before the moratorium. Monsanto has spent millions of dollars pressuring EU officials to allow the introduction of GM foods into Europe, and—more significantly—recent Wikileaks documents reveal U.S. State Department officials also pressuring EU officials on Monsanto’s behalf.

    Monsanto’s actions run the gamut of illegality and dirty tricks, and include the attempted bribery of Canadian officials; the intentional dumping of toxic waste into the environment; and the filing of hundreds of lawsuits alleging “patent infringement” against small farmers whose crops became contaminated with their patented genes, etc. Mass protests against Monsanto have spread to dozens of countries around the world and have included civil disobedience actions like the burning of experimental crop fields and the nonviolent occupation of Monsanto facilities.
    http://www.occucards.com/cards/monsanto/

  • I still have a satire parody entitled “If I Ran Monsanto, by Dr. Sues” for anyone wishing to have a copy. Tom Gilbert thomasgilbert2052@yahoo.com

  • Satire could be powerful. Last year I wrote a satire piece from the point-of-view of people who love Monsanto. Here is it: http://jdennehy.com/i-love-monsanto/

Leave a Reply