The World According to Monsanto

This full length video is an eye opener for anyone not aware of what’s going on with the world’s food supply.

 

Published on Jul 2, 2012

http://www.skeptically.org/finc/id2.html There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected.

 

We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”.

One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market.

Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

California’s Prop 37 in 2012 and Washington’s I-522 both would have required labeling of genetically modified foods. They both failed due to enormous amounts of corporate free speech.

If they’re so great, why not let the market decide if they want to buy them? If there’s no difference between them and conventional food, why a patent? Watch and learn.

The GMO Wheat Mystery Deepens

By Dan Charles

Wheat grows in a test field at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Some scientists believe that there's a chance that genetically modified wheat found in one farmer's field in May is still in the seed supply.

Wheat grows in a test field at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Some scientists believe that there’s a chance that genetically modified wheat found in one farmer’s field in May is still in the seed supply.

Natalie Behring/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The strange case of genetically engineered wheat on a farm in Oregon remains as mysterious as ever. If anything, it’s grown more baffling.

As we almost two months ago, the presence of this wheat was revealed earlier this spring when a farmer in eastern Oregon sprayed a field with the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup. Most vegetation died, as the farmer intended, but clumps of green wheat stalks kept growing. They apparently had sprouted from grain that was leftover in the field from last year’s crop.

It was such a strange sight that the farmer wondered if this wheat might be genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, just like the popular Roundup Ready versions of corn and soybeans. He called a weed scientist named Carol Mallory-Smith at Oregon State University to ask her opinion.

“I said I didn’t think so,” recalls Mallory-Smith. The biotech company Monsanto had developed such wheat years earlier, and carried out field trials of it, but those trials ended at least eight years ago. Monsanto never asked for government approval to sell such wheat, and growing it without a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture actually would violate the law.

“So I was pretty skeptical, but I said, ‘If you send me some samples, I’ll test it,’ ” Mallory-Smith says.

To her surprise the tests came back positive. She passed the samples on to the USDA, which confirmed her results and an investigation.

The USDA is trying to answer two big questions about this wheat. First, where else can it be found? Second, how did it get into this farmer’s field?

Hundreds of millions of dollars could hang on the answer to the first question. If rogue genes are present in America’s wheat harvest, some customers — especially in Japan and Korea — say they won’t take it.

Fortunately for American wheat farmers, the search so far has come up empty. Korea has been testing shipments of U.S. wheat and the USDA has tested thousands of samples collected from farms and seed companies — including the business where that Oregon farmer bought his seed. They’ve found no GMOs, anywhere.

Blake Rowe, CEO of the Oregon Wheat Commission, expects Japan, which has suspended its purchases of U.S. wheat, to resuming buying when it’s sure the wheat is GMO-free. “We’re confident they will come back to the market, but there’s a lot of concern about how quickly that will happen,” he says.

Every test that comes up negative eases the worries of the wheat industry, but it also makes the source of this GMO wheat a bigger mystery. Investigators are finding no trail that leads from the Oregon farm back to Monsanto’s research operation.

Across the wheat-growing areas of the Pacific Northwest, farmers and wheat dealers now are trading speculative theories about how this might have happened.

Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robert Fraley, laid out a particularly attention-grabbing scenario a few weeks ago during in a conference call with reporters. “The fact pattern indicates the strong possibility that someone intentionally introduced wheat seed containing the CP4 event into his field, sometime after that farmer initially planted it,” Fraley said, referring to Monsanto’s Roundup resistance gene

As for a motive, “there are folks who don’t like biotechnology and would use this as an opportunity to create problems,” Fraley continued. He speculated that anti-biotech activists may have stolen wheat from one of Monsanto’s field trials of GMO wheat. They could have stored this grain for a decade, then planted it in a field and waited for a farmer to discover it.

Others find Monsanto’s theory dubious, or “a stretch,” as , a wheat breeder at Oregon State, puts it.

Zemetra thinks an ordinary mistake is more likely: that somebody involved in Monsanto’s GMO wheat trials just happened to misplace a bag of wheat at some point. “Or you have a bag that gets mislabeled and gets put on the shelf and just sits there,” he says.

In this scenario, somewhere along the way someone picks up that bag and treats it like normal, conventional wheat seed. Some goes to that farm. Maybe the amount of GMO wheat is so small that tests now miss it.

Zemetra admits that his scenario isn’t exactly convincing, either. But he’s heard nothing better.

Bernadette Juarez, an official with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service who is in charge of the investigation, says the agency is now analyzing the genetic makeup of the GMO wheat, to figure out exactly which genetic variety of wheat it is. This will be a clue to its source; it should pinpoint, for instance, which of Monsanto’s many different field trials involved that variety.

Maybe investigators will be able to pick up a trail of rogue wheat leading from one of those trials to the farm in eastern Oregon. If not, the case may remain a mystery.

Center For Food Safety Launches Class Action Suit Against Monsanto

GMO Contaminated Wheat FieldsYou probably read the news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that unapproved, genetically engineered (GE) wheat was found contaminating an Oregon farmer’s field.  The GE wheat, known as Roundup Ready, was developed by the Monsanto Company to withstand direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide, and was never approved for sale.

The discovery of unapproved Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon, years after Monsanto terminated field testing, is just the latest example of Monsanto’s inability to keep their engineered genes under control.  Until Monsanto and USDA begin to take gene flow from field tests more seriously, we can expect GE contamination to continue to cause havoc.

CFS is not standing idly by hoping Monsanto and USDA do the right thing. We are taking action. Center for Food Safety and Pacific Northwest wheat farmers have filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto. Center for Food Safety and Pacific Northwest wheat farmers are representing the broad class of farmers affected by this contamination, seeking monetary compensation for farmers who have lost export markets, and forcing Monsanto to take measures to clean up the contamination and ensure it never happens again.

This is a pivotal moment for the food movement, and we can’t do this work without your support! Together we can stand up to Monsanto and hold them accountable.

As we’ve warned for over a decade, GE crops simply can’t be controlled once they’re released into the environment. Past transgenic contamination episodes involving GE corn and GE rice triggered over $1 billion in losses and economic hardship to farmers, and recalls of food products containing illegal GE corn. CFS has been there every time, fighting in the courts, in the halls of Congress, and in communities to protect our food, our farms, and our environment from these risky GE crops.

With your support, we’ve been working to hold biotech companies like Monsanto accountable and tighten regulations over their experimental GE crop field trials for over a decade. And we’ve had a lot of successes — like our past litigation over similar field trials in Oregon and Hawaii for other GE crops in which we won substantial victories over USDA and industry for their field trial abuses and failures. Because of this litigation, we now have the legal ability to challenge the legality of field trials, and USDA can no longer ignore their environmental and socioeconomic impacts. We’ve even forced USDA to publicly admit new field trial contamination incidents, like this one, that they otherwise tried to keep secret.

We can do so much more, but we need your help to succeed. Please make a donation to support our groundbreaking work today!

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