Wednesday, November 10, 2010

War Over Monsanto Gets Ugly - Truthout

by: Mike Ludwig, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

A delegation of politicians and community activists gathered on August 7 in La Leonesa, a small farm town in Argentina, to hear Dr. Andres Carrasco speak about a study linking a popular herbicide to birth defects in Argentina's agricultural areas.
But the presentation never happened. A mob of about 100 people attacked the delegation before they could reach the local school where the talk was to be held.

Dr. Carrasco and a colleague locked themselves in a car as the mob yelled threats and beat on the vehicle for two hours. One delegate was hit in the spine and has since suffered lower-body paralysis. Another person was treated for blows to the head. A former provincial human rights official was hit in the face and knocked unconscious.

Witnesses said the angry crowd had ties to local officials and agribusiness bosses, and police made little effort to stop the violence, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Carrasco is a lead embryologist at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and the Argentinean national research council. His study, first released in 2009 and published in the United States this past summer, shows that glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto's popular Roundup formula caused deformations in chicken embryos that resembled the kind of birth defects being reported in areas like La Leonesa, where big agribusinesses depend on glyphosate to treat genetically engineered crops.

The deformations resulted from much lower doses of herbicide than those commonly found on crops, according to the study.

Biotech chemical giant Monsanto patented glyphosate under the trade name Roundup in the 1970's. The billion-dollar product is a main source of Monsanto's revenue and one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. One Monsanto blogger recently wrote that decades of success has made the Roundup brand name and glyphosate "interchangeable similar to the case of facial tissue and the brand name Kleenex."

Carrasco's report was largely ignored in the mainstream American media, but gained international attention among those opposed to genetically modified (GM) crops like Monstano's Roundup Ready crops, which are genetically engineered to tolerate the glyphosate-based herbicides.

The report is not the first to show that glyphosate herbicides like Roundup are more dangerous than government regulators and Monsanto have claimed, and Carrasco is not the first scientist to face intimidation after challenging the biotech industry, although he is the first to be threatened with violence.

Nevertheless, his report made an impact: journalists covered the results, environmentalists petitioned Argentina's high court to ban glyphosate and the government of the Argentinean province of Chaco began studying an eerie increase in birth defects and child cancer near the soy and rice fields sprayed with thousands of gallons of herbicide.

According to a spring 2010 report released by the Chaco government, an increase in birth defects and child cancer cases coincided with years of agricultural expansion and increased herbicide use in the province. The number of child cancer cases in La Leonesa, the small town where Carrasco and the other concerned citizens were attacked, has tripled from 2000 to 2009 and the number of birth defects in the province nearly quadrupled during that time, according to the report.

The report acknowledges that some local agribusinesses were unlawfully spraying herbicides too close to residential populations, but the Chaco study soon caught the attention of researchers across the world.
In September, an international coalition of scientists released a report citing the attack in La Leonesa and human tragedy in Chaco as proof that Roundup and genetically engineered soy crops are dangerous and unsustainable. The report  provides a conclusive rebuttal to the industry's claims that spraying mutant crops with chemicals is the best way to feed the world. It's just another chapter in an information war that has raged for more than a decade, pitting independent scientists and embattled whistleblowers against the world's biggest biotech and petrochemical corporations.

Roundup and Monsanto 
Monsanto has gained much of its international notoriety - or infamy, depending on whom you talk to - through its Roundup Ready line of crops that are genetically modified (GM) to be immune to the herbicide. To use the herbicide to combat weeds, farmers must buy patented Monsanto GM seeds with the genetic herbicide tolerant trait. Roundup herbicide is then sprayed to kill unwanted weeds, but the patented GM crops are spared.

The Roundup Ready crop system was first made available in 1996. Since 2000, the percentage of Roundup Ready corn grown in the United States has exploded from 7 to 70 percent and now 93 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are GM, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Roundup accounts for about 40 percent of Monsanto's annual revenues and is sprayed on about 12 million acres of American farmland each year. In April, Monsanto announced the completion of a $200 million expansion of its glyphosate production facility in Louisiana.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready patent runs out in 2014, and the Justice Department began an antitrust investigation of Monsanto this year as its petrochemical competitors like DuPont clamor for a piece of the action. Monsanto has proven its tenacity in such disputes in the past; it forged new legal territory in the past decade, suing small farmers who saved Roundup Ready seeds or simply grew crops infected with GM traits after the patented Monsanto gene drifted and multiplied in their fields.

Monsanto's domination of domestic agriculture has had a startling side effect in the fields: the rise of new glyphosate resistant weeds commonly called "superweeds." Like the GM corn and soy, these weeds have bred themselves to tolerate Roundup and are invading farms across the country.

Monsanto shocked investors and environmentalists in October by announcing a new program that offers millions of dollars in rebates to farmers who combine Roundup with more herbicides manufactured by the company's competitors to combat the glyphosate-resistant weeds threatening GM crops across the country.
The mere presence of superweeds and the fact that Monsanto is now paying farmers to spray additional chemicals that are more toxic than Roundup, is evidence of a complete regulatory breakdown, according to watchdog group Center for Food Safety (CFS).

In his September 30 testimony to Congress on superweeds, CFS senior policy analyst William Freese said that the USDA regulates GM crops and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates herbicides, but there is no regulation of the combined system.

"And it is the system - the invariable use of glyphosate made possible and fostered by glyphosate-resistant seeds, for instance - that is responsible for the growing epidemic of glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds," Freese said in his testimony. "This is clearly demonstrated by the near complete absence of GR weeds for the first 20 plus years of glyphosate's use and the explosion of weed resistance in the decade since the widespread adoption of Roundup Ready crop systems."

Debate Gets Ugly
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has long been considered less toxic than other herbicides. The EPA considers glyphosate a non-carcinogen for humans and a chemical of relatively low toxicity.
Monsanto took the EPA's initial evaluation and ran with it, and in 1996, the state of New York filed a lawsuit against Monsanto over an advertising campaign that claimed Roundup to be as safe as table salt.

In recent years, teams of independent scientists like Carrasco's have come forward with studies showing that Roundup and glyphosate is more toxic than the regulators will admit. For years, Roundup critics charged that the "inert" ingredients like surfactants and solvents in Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides make the products more toxic to people and the environment.

Carrasco's report, on the other hand, showed that glyphosate itself caused malformations in embryos similar to those found in humans who live in agricultural areas dominated by genetically engineered crops. The report establishes that the toxic "inert" ingredients made it easier for the glyphosate to invade cells and cause damage.
But Carrasco is not the first scientist to identify this relationship between glyphosate and Roundup's "inert" ingredients.

Jeffrey Smith, GM critic and author of the books "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette," told Truthout that many scientists have been verbally threatened and denied tenure for publishing studies critical of Roundup and GM crops.

"The attack [on Carrasco] is the latest in a series of attempts to silence those who have discovered problems with Roundup," Smith said.

Smith rattled off a list of scientists from Russia, Britain, the US, and beyond who have faced some kind of intimidation after going public with research on problems with GM foods and chemical products, including researcher Arpad Pusztai, who was famously relieved from his long-time position at a prominent Scottish research center in 1998 shortly after making public comments on potential problems with GM.
Smith is currently working with an international effort to support Gilles-Eric Seralini, a scientist at the University of Caen in France.

In 2009, Seralini and his team released a study showing that four different Roundup formulations diluted below suggested agricultural levels killed human placenta, umbilical chord and embryo cells.
"This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert," Seralini's team wrote. "Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from [Roundup-treated] crops."
Carrasco cited Seralini's work in his groundbreaking study on glyphosate and birth defects.

Monsanto responded by calling Seralini's research "political" and argued that the conditions of the study did not reflect real life conditions. One Monsanto blogger even compared a key "inert" ingredient identified by Seralini's study to household soap.

Seralini and his team took on Monsanto again last year with a counteranalysis of lab data provided by Monsanto on the effects of three GM corn strains on lab rats. Seralini obtained the data after a German court ordered Monsanto to hand it over for review. Seralini's team discovered that the original study poorly constructed and the results reported by Monsanto were misleading.

Seralini had basically refuted Monsanto's ability to formally prove its GM products to be safe and that didn't sit well with his peers who supported the industry.

Pro-GM scientists in France, including Seralini's former colleague Marc Fellous of the French Association of Plant Biotechnology (AFBV), have since made public statements questioning Seralini's credibility and calling him a "merchant of fear," according to Seralini's supporters in the European scientific community.

Smith said that the intimidation of scientists conducting independent research, whether coming from the industry or its researchers, sends a dangerous message to other scientists.
"There is an attitude that, if you dare do research in the field, then you are threatening your work and credibility," Smith said.

As for Carrasco, the attack in La Leonesa did not keep him from speaking out. In September, just one month after being confronted by an angry mob, Carrasco was a featured speaker at the GMO-Free Europe conference.

Carrasco did not respond to a request for an interview.

Carrasco has his work cut out for him. On October 13, just days before initiating the plan to pay American farmers to use more herbicides, Monsanto announced that two more GM crops were approved in Argentina, according to a press release. Like the US, large Latin American countries like Argentina and Brazil are key growth markets for Monsanto.

This is the challenge facing Carrasco, Seralini, and others who use science to hold the biotech industry accountable for its push for control over the future of agriculture. Their stories show that taking on powerful financial interests of massive global corporations can be a difficult - and even dangerous - task: a war of information between those in search of profit and those in search of truth.

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Mike Ludwig is a Truthout Fellow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dear Tiffany (Thanks to Exposing Monsanto!)

Some time ago, you contacted us with concerns about the polystyrene plastic we were using for our yogurt 4-packs and 6-packs. We're happy to tell you we're no longer using polystyrene for any of our packaging. Our multipack cups are now made from plant-based plastic.
This material is approved by the FDA for use in food packaging. But we've gone well beyond legal requirements to uphold our commitment to your safety. We hired Pure Strategies, an independent scientific consulting firm, to develop a list of potentially dangerous additives like BPA, phthalates, carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors, and we signed a contract that prohibits our supplier from using them. We also routinely test the plastic to ensure compliance.
What's more, these plant-based cups have enormous environmental benefits. This one move—from traditional petroleum-based plastic to plant-based plastic-reduces our multipacks' climate change impact by nearly half. Over its life cycle, plant-based plastic uses less energy and emits 48% less greenhouse gases than polystyrene.
To find out more about our new multipack cups made from plants, please read our FAQs and watch our videos at for sharing your thoughts about polystyrene and for encouraging us on our search for something better. Your opinions of our products and the ways we do business mean everything to us. We hope you'll use this $2.00 coupon toward the purchase of a Stonyfield yogurt multipack. It's good through November 15th.
Please let us know what you think. We'd love to hear from you again.


The folks at Stonyfield

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Petition Against Gates Foundation Monsanto Investment

WHEREAS Monsanto's corporate practices and products are infamous for their destructive impact on the health of mankind and the sustainability of all life on earth, and
WHEREAS the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation represents that it's mission is to serve the health needs of mankind,
WE THE UNDERSIGNED do hereby petition the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to immediately divest itself of its investment of $27 million in Monsanto stock and hereafter cease support of any and all programs associated with Monsanto products
Regarding your involvement with Monsanto and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa:
We – the concerned people who have signed this petition – are aware that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are, via your sponsorship of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and your economic cooperation with Monsanto, planning to spread chemical agriculture and genetically modified organisms into the precarious societies and nature of Africa.
Although we assume that your Foundation is supporting this technology in order to alleviate hunger and poverty in Africa, we must respectfullydisagree with your approach, which we find reductionist, purely focusing on technological fixes and economic profit making. This is a limited approach, which we believe cannot give sustainable results. If your Foundation aims to be part of solving global hunger and poverty, we find it necessary that you embrace a holistic approach, hence including in your program concern for women, poor people, and nature.
In the following we would like to explain in detail why we oppose your approach:
While women represent half the global population, one-third of the labor force, and do two-thirds of all working hours, they receive only one-tenth of the world income, and own less than one percent of world property. Owing to this inequality, data show that 70 percent of all absolute poor people are women.
Thus, poverty is a gender related problem. It derives from subordination of women in most societies.
Laws, institutions, social rules, and cultural traditions have throughout history dominated the African women and limited their access to productive resources and markets. Women are also not enjoying much government and donor assistance, and in many places they cannot own land. In spite of these obstacles women are producing 80 percent of the continents food. They are also the main actors in the informal markets from which poor people survive. Due to their prominent role in food production women depend on nature. This relationship has given many Southern women a unique knowledge about their environment. It is an organic and sustainable relation benefitting both: nature helps women to feed their families while women ensure that nature remains healthy and reproductive. This knowledge is diverse, depending on the context, and it has been transmitted from one generation to the next. When the North introduced chemical agriculture and production of cash crop for the formal market, they marginalized women’s food production. The natural resources from which women lived were directed towards cash crop production. This caused scarcity of land for women’s food production resulting in hunger and poverty of women and their children, and degradation of natural resources. Moreover, the purely technological approach from mechanical scientists, dismissed women’s organic agricultural knowledge, which has sustained traditional people and nature for thousands of years.
The “Green Revolution” or chemical agriculture consequently did not benefit women, poor people, and nature. Its mono culture, chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide, its hybrid seeds and extreme water use via irrigation have had tremendous negative side effects for society and nature. This has been researched by various respected scientists. One is Dr. Vandana Shiva who analyzed the “Green Revolution” in India and published her results in the 1989 book “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development”.
The dangers of spreading chemicals in nature were also highlighted in the now famous classic book, “Silent Spring”, written by the late American marine biologist Rachel Carson. There is ample additional evidence, which points to chemical agriculture’s inability to sustainably increase yields, while the method oppositely is polluting nature and people: The artificial technologies have caused serious imbalances to the natural eco-system. Chemicals have tainted soils, poisoned ground water, endangered fish, birds, and other animals. Chemicals have indiscriminately killed insects including those that are supportive to healthy plant development, like bees and worms. Chemicals have caused mineral imbalance in soils, which is draining their health and nutrition. Irrigation has introduced too much water into soils causing siltation and salinisation, making soils salty and muddy and hence unfit for agricultural production.
In addition, chemical agriculture has overused water resources and caused alarming shortage of clean water globally. Hence, introduction of the proposed “Green Revolution” will eventually render the precarious African soils infertile; it will dry out Africa’s scarce water sources, and destroy valuable traditional agricultural knowledge.
Agricultural chemicals also make people sick. Many of the toxics enter the human body where they remain in the tissues, because the immune system cannot dispose of them. Some of the chemicals are causing cancer or birth defects, and contributing to numerous health problems. In addition, people are often unaware of how to handle the dangerous chemicals they are using. Due to inadequate technical knowledge pesticide and herbicide kill 10-40,000 people annually in the South. With all these painful side effects carried by society and nature one should at least expect that chemical agriculture could boost crop production, however that is not the case.
Although chemical agriculture initially increased yields, this improvement quickly diminished, and scientists say that the yield now is lower compared to organic farming. The decrease relates to exhaustion in soil nutrition and increased pest attacks. The persistent use of pesticide has caused pests to mutate, developing resistant strains of pest. This increased invasion of pests can cause crop losses of up to 30 percent. Since the chemicals also have killed the pests’ natural predators the mutated pests will require ever more deadly chemicals causing a never ending vicious circle, like drug addiction. Consequently, introduction of chemical agriculture has not led to food security; instead it has caused severe side effects, hence we must doubt the benefit from using chemicals in nature.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are an expansion of the “Green Revolution”. Genetic engineering of the seed has made it ecologically incomplete so that it cannot produce alone. It will need help from purchased fertilizer and pesticide. This will increase the need for chemicals in agriculture hence escalating the above mentioned negative side-effects for society and nature. Due to the modification technique used in the laboratory, the GMO foods cause additional health threats.
Research on animals has shown that GMO food combined with their chemicals are causing liver and kidney damage, reproductive dysfunction, sterility, increased infant mortality, food allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases, while also having negative effects in heart, adrenal, spleen, and blood cells.
Genetically engineered seeds have been modified in such a way that they cannot reproduce. This is an economic advantage for the corporations because it requires the farmer to buy new seeds for every planting season, together with the necessary chemicals. Making the seed sterile means that farmers can no longer replant their own seeds from previous harvests. They must buy new seeds every season, which puts an end to their ability to develop new crops. This is devastating in the South where farmers grow 80 percent of their crops from saved seeds. When poor farmers cannot store and trade seed, their agricultural production become dependent on expensive seed and chemical implements from agri-businesses. As a result, only those farmers who can afford it will have food, the rest will be marginalized. Modification of seeds has allowed patenting. In this way the agri-businesses maintain a monopoly on resources for food production. Because of this market monopoly GMO seeds and their chemicals are expensive. This has led poor farmers into debt and poverty. You can hardly be unaware of the thousands of crop farmers who have committed suicides in India, due to bankruptcy caused by Monsanto’s monopoly on agricultural technology.
In addition, the GMO crops are eradicating traditional crops. Nature does not operate in neatly separated boxes, thus cross pollination takes place between the GMO plant and traditional crops, which makes the latter sterile. This is disastrous for sustainable food production because it is the traditional crops that have given local people food security for thousands of years keeping both nature and people healthy. In this way, corporations have taken over plant breeding, which is creating the classical conditions for hunger and famine. History has shown that whenever ownership of resources for food production are concentrated in a few hands and the market is in charge of distributing the agricultural products, then we have the foundation for food insecurity. Consequently, hunger and poverty began when modern chemical agriculture entered the South. The shift from an ecological process of sustainable food production, to a technological process of non-renewable production has reduced biological diversity in agriculture; it has increased farmer’s dependency on expensive patented products; and it has created non-sustainability in agriculture, which will lead to hunger and poverty in the South.
There is yet another reason why GMO cannot eradicate world hunger: although the industry has declared that it will feed the world, the promise has proven empty. Experiments show that GM seeds do not increase crop yields radically; they are also not promising for adapting to climate change. According to the report “Failure to Yield” from July 2009 made by Union of Concerned Scientists, GMOs have, despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, failed significantly to increase US crop yields. It therefore does not make sense to support genetic engineering at the expense of technologies that have proven to substantially increase yields, especially in many developing countries. In addition, recent studies have shown that organic and similar farming methods that minimize the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can more than double crop yields at little cost to poor farmers in developing regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
The senior scientist, Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman concludes that, “If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields; traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”
Research from the Rodale Institute supports these findings. They have an ongoing revolutionary research project that started in 1981 called Farm System Trial (FST) on organic farming. Their research has found that crop yields from organic and chemical farms are similar in years of average precipitation.
However, organic farm yields are higher during droughts and floods, due to stronger root systems in organic plants, and better moisture retention in the soil, which prevents runoff and erosion. The data moreover showed that organic production requires 30 percent less energy than chemical production when growing corn and soybeans; that organic farms create jobs because labor inputs are 15 percent higher; and that the net economic return for organic crops is equal to or higher than that for chemically produced crops because the costs are lower. In addition, organic farming is psychologically and socially supportive because it is labor intensive and community oriented.
The most surprising FST finding of all has been that when soil is cultivated organically its carbon content increases, which contributes to reducing global warming. The carbon increase is so high that if all the cultivated land in the world were farmed organically it would immediately reduce our climate crisis significantly. Organic farming can pull, on an annual basis, thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per acre right out of the air and keep it in the soil, adding to its carbon stores year after year. Physicist Amory Lovins supports this finding. In his estimates increasing the carbon content of the world’s depleted soils at reasonable rates would absorb about as much carbon as all human activity emits. Conversely, soil farmed by using chemical methods has very little ability to keep or build vital supplies of carbon in the soil. It is oppositely causing global warming. Its nitrogen-based fertilizers are releasing the green house gas nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Hence, switching to organic food production is the single most critical action we can take right now to stop our climate crisis.
Consequently, organic farming is a relevant, ecological, and holistic technology that would alleviate hunger and poverty. Organic farms are small and owner operated. Farmers sell their products at local markets with a short distance from the farm to the table, saving energy, packing, and at the same time maintaining the food fresh and healthy. Finally, organic farming is successful and efficient. An agroecological project involving 730,000 farm households across Africa resulted in yield improvements of between 50-100 percent. In addition, it decreased production costs while increasing cash incomes up to as much as ten times. Thus, organic farming raises production, gives ecological and social benefits, and it empower farmers, most of whom are women.
In order to give a holistic understanding, it is important to add that hunger is not caused by global food shortage. According to Frances Moore Lappé and her colleagues at the Institute for Food and Development Policy in USA, the reasons for hunger are political. According to her book from 1986, “World Hunger: Twelve Myths” there is enough food supply for all in our world. Increase of food supply has, in the last fifty years, kept ahead of population growth in every region of the world, except Africa. Research also shows that there is no direct relationship between the prevalence of hunger and a country’s population size. Moreover, 78 percent of all malnourished children in the South live in countries with food surpluses. Many of these countries export more agricultural goods than they import. The root causes of hunger are consequently unrelated to food production. Poverty, inequality, and lack of access to food and land are the primary causes of famine. People are hungry because the economic and political elite control the means of producing and distributing food. Thus, world hunger is not a problem that can be solved by chemical technology and GMO; it comes from lack of democracy and economic equality.
If we do not address the root causes - which relate to domination - hunger and poverty will continue no matter which technology we apply. We consequently do not need a “Green Revolution” in Africa. Organic farming methods are more likely to support women, poor people, and nature, and to keep women and poor people in control of productive resources. Therefore, if we should hope to alleviate hunger and poverty control over resources for food production need to return into the hands of the food producers, most of whom are women. They must be empowered to grow their own food by choosing their own technology and using their own knowledge.
This should be supported rather than subordinated.
Conclusively if your Foundation would support women’s organic agriculture it would have the following positive, systemic ripple and trickle-down effects: increase agricultural production, ensure food sustainability, eradicate hunger and thus poverty, improve health of women and children hence reducing child mortality, diminish women’s reproduction thus putting a halt to global population expansion, reduce global warming hence arresting climate change, increase human productivity, make people independent and content, which is boosting social cohesion leading to limitation in crime and violence, sustain a healthy nature with fertile soils and clean waters, which will be supporting life of people and animals, empower women, leading to gender equality, freedom, and democracy. In conclusion, a holistic approach to food production will bring about sustainability and an overall increase in the quality of life for women, poor people, and nature. If the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would follow this path, you would place your names in the history books as people who truly made a difference in our world.
Oppositely if your Foundation supports AGRA’s and Monsanto’s chemical agriculture and GMO, you may not be part of the solution to hunger and poverty. Your Foundation may oppositely become yet another dominant institution, which is subordinating women and poor people, while exploiting nature by controlling people’s productive resources preventing them from becoming self-sufficient. Since the technology Monsanto is promoting has proven to be dangerous to society and nature, supporting Monsanto economically means that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation indirectly and hopefully unintentionally may harm Africa’s precious people and priceless nature. We therefore urge you to reconsider your support to AGRA and Monsanto, and instead follow a holistic and sustainable strategy for hunger and poverty alleviation.
A holistic development strategy includes not only quantitative economic and technical issues; it needs to integrate concerns for a quality of life for society and nature. History has shown that formal markets, economic growth, and chemical agriculture have failed to alleviate hunger and poverty; we therefore need to try alternative strategies. I would enjoy sharing such an alternative perception with your Foundation.
At the beginning of next year the University Press of America will be publishing my book, “Ecofeminism: Towards Integrating the Concerns of Women, Poor people, and Nature into Development”, which is based on my Masters Degree dissertation obtained at University of South Africa. The book presents a complex critique of the present reductionist, purely economic oriented development strategy.
It is showing that a holistic perception of reality is more likely to end the global crises of poverty, violence, natural destruction, and human rights abuses. As soon as the book is out from print, I will, via the publisher, forward the book to you as a gift. I sincerely hope that the content of the book in some ways will inspire your ongoing work with global hunger and poverty alleviation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Yours Respectfully,
On behalf of the petition sponsor
Sustainability Education Network, USA, Gregory Hilbert and Suzanne Sparling, CoFounders
And all those who have signed this petition
Mrs. Jytte Nhanenge C.P. 258, Chimoio, Mozambique;  BA Development Studies and Philosophy, Hons BA Philosophy, MA Development Studies
URL: Petition Against Gates Foundation Monsanto Investment

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsanto (New York Times)

After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsanto

As recently as late December, Monsanto was named “company of the year” by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. “This may be the worst stock of 2010,” he proclaimed.
Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak of creating ever more expensive genetically engineered crops is coming to an end.
The company’s stock, which rose steadily over several years to peak at around $140 a share in mid-2008, closed Monday at $47.77, having fallen about 42 percent since the beginning of the year. Its earnings for the fiscal year that ended in August, which will be announced Wednesday, are expected to be well below projections made at the beginning of the year, and the company has abandoned its profit goal for 2012 as well.
The latest blow came last week, when early returns from this year’s harvest showed that Monsanto’s newest product, SmartStax corn, which contains eight inserted genes, was providing yields no higher than the company’s less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes.
Monsanto has already been forced to sharply cut prices on SmartStax and on its newest soybean seeds, called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, as sales fell below projections.
But there is more. Sales of Monsanto’s Roundup, the widely used herbicide, has collapsed this year under an onslaught of low-priced generics made in China. Weeds are growing resistant to Roundup, dimming the future of the entire Roundup Ready crop franchise. And the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations.
Until now, Monsanto’s main challenge has come from opponents of genetically modified crops, who have slowed their adoption in Europe and some other regions. Now, however, the skeptics also include farmers and investors who were once in Monsanto’s camp.
“My personal view is that they overplayed their hand,” William R. Young, managing director of ChemSpeak, a consultant to investors in the chemical industry, said of Monsanto. “They are going to have to demonstrate to the farmer the advantage of their products.”
Brett D. Begemann, Monsanto’s executive vice president for seeds and traits, said the setbacks were not reflective of systemic management problems and that the company was moving to deal with them.
“Farmers clearly gave us some feedback that we have made adjustments from,” he said in an interview Monday.
Mr. Begemann said that Monsanto used to introduce new seeds at a price that gave farmers two-thirds and Monsanto one-third of the extra profits that would come from higher yields or lower pest-control costs. But with SmartStax corn and Roundup Ready 2 soybeans, the company’s pricing aimed for a 50-50 split.
That backfired as American farmers grew only six million acres of Roundup Ready 2 soybeans this year, below the company’s goal of eight million to 10 million acres, and only three million acres of SmartStax corn, below the goal of four million.
So now Monsanto is moving back to the older arrangement. SmartStax seed for planting next year will be priced about $8 an acre more than other seeds, down from about a $24 premium for this year’s seeds, Mr. Begemann said. The company will also offer credits for free seed to farmers who planted SmartStax this year and were disappointed.
Monsanto has also moved to offer farmers more varieties with fewer inserted genes. Some farmers have said they often have to buy traits they do not need — such as protection from the corn rootworm in regions where that pest is not a problem — to get the best varieties. This issue has surfaced in the antitrust investigation.
Monsanto’s arch rival, DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred, has also capitalized on the lack of options under a campaign called “right product, right acre.”
“If they don’t have a need for rootworm then we won’t have that trait in that product,” Paul E. Schickler, the president of Pioneer, said in an interview.
After years of rapidly losing market share in corn seeds to Monsanto, Pioneer says it has gained back four percentage points in the last two years, to 34 percent. Monsanto puts its market share at 36 percent in 2009 and says it has remained flat this year. In soybeans, Pioneer puts its share at 31 percent, up seven percentage points over the last two years; Monsanto puts its share at 28 percent last year and said it had dropped some this year.
Monsanto had a similar problem with lower-than-expected yields on Roundup Ready 2 soybeans last year, when the crop was first planted commercially, forcing it to slash its premium.
But this year, the yield appears to be meeting expectations, said OTR Global, a research firm that surveys farmers and seed dealers. That could bode well for SmartStax next year.
One reason is that the Roundup Ready 2 gene is now offered in more varieties, making it better suited to more growing conditions. The yield of a crop is mainly determined by the seed’s intrinsic properties, not the inserted genes. An insect protection gene will not make a poor variety a high yielder any more than spiffy shoes will turn a slow runner into Usain Bolt. In the first year of a new product, few varieties contain the new gene.
Still, Monsanto is bound at some point to face diminishing returns from its strategy of putting more and more insect-resistant and herbicide-resistant genes into the same crop, at ever increasing prices. Growth might have to eventually come from new traits, such as a drought-tolerant corn the company hopes to introduce in 2012.
“Technologically, they are still the market leader,” said Laurence Alexander, an analyst at Jefferies & Company. “The main issue going forward is do they get paid for the technology they deliver. The jury is still out on that one. It’s going to take a year or two of data to reassure people.”
URL of Article:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monsanto Indian Farmer Suicide

Just remember this: 125,000 Indian farmers to date have committed suicide due to the failed promises of Monsanto.

One hundred and twenty-five THOUSAND families have been broken because of their goddamned lies.

Check out for more ways to keep yourself free of Monsanto's FrankenFoods.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stop Monsanto, Cargill, et al, From Outlawing Organic Produce

Stop Monsanto, Cargill, et al, from outlawing organic produce

Educating Congress: Do Not Supress Organic and Small Farmers and Ranchers; Natural Food Products

Farmers Under Attack...
This urgent message is from our correspondent, Linn Cohen-Cole:

We have just weeks to stop the take over of family farms and ranches,organic and natural foods.

H.R. 875 and S. 425 [and similar bills such a H.R. 759]
We need to rally people immediately. 
The new administration is pushing new farm controls through Congress as fast as possible and have coordinated the bills so there will be no debate and the committee meetings are closed.  

Transparency, change, undoing Bush's regulations, giving the public time to comment, grassroots anything?  Our entire food system and thus our health is being decided without the public knowing and those who do know have zero access and the media is absent and they are moving at warp speed to sew this up.

Would you put these out, in this order, showing the article as you do so people are more likely to read it?  They are imperfect but the closest I've come to explaining how the game is going to be played.  No direct, frontal assault on organic farming but an insidious process of "infecting" organic farming...  

Example: imagine Joel Salatin's wonderful organic farm under the direction of the USDA, with detailed instructions on what he must feed and when, how he must medically "treat" his animals and with what, what he must "spray" and when, ... you get the picture. 

These bills will industrialize all farms and insure the farmers are forced to buy chemicals and drugs.  Organic is dead.  As well as human control over the food supply.  As well as health.

Schoolmarm approach to punishing farmers out of farming.

Bills being rushed through Congress, set to destroy organic farming.
Linn Cohen-Cole is a dedicated researcher and "Paul Revere" of health freedom. At her urging, we've set up an Action Item for you to send an unmistakable message to your representatives in the Senate and the House. We must educate Congress that you do not want organic and small farmers regulated out of existence. You do not want "Big Agra" regulations, perhaps necessary to protect the public when dealing with large scale agra business, applied to organic and small family farms and ranches or to natural and organic food products, including Dietary Supplements.

LINK: Send a message to Congress.     


Protecting Organic and Small Family Farms and Ranches; Natural Food Products

Natural Solutions Foundation,, as part of its efforts to educate Congress regarding the inestimable benefits of health care freedom of choice, asked its hundreds of thousands of supporters to let our Congressional representatives know about our concerns for the protection of organic and small family farms and ranches from new legislation and regulation that is more properly applied to large-scale agricultural businesses.

Our concern focuses on pending legislation to establish a “Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services.” This bill is H.R. 875 and the Senate is considering a similar bill, S. 425. While we do support DIVESTING THE FDA and USDA of their often mis-used food authority, we do not support these bills. AS MY CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, I WANT YOU TO VOTE AGAINST THESE BILLS and any substitutes, such as H.R. 759.

If Congress insists upon passing these bills, it is very important that Congress write into these bills specific language protecting organic and small family farms and ranches. These enterprises and all natural products, including organic and natural food products and Dietary Supplements, must be exempted from the controls of these bills.

Such products and such farms and ranches are not part of the food safety problem. The problem is with mega-farms and agra business facilities.

We demand that our natural and organic food products, Dietary Supplements and their producers be protected from the increased regulation of food producers provided in these pending bills and any similar enactments.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Health Freedom was one of the Top Ten Social Issues on and was added to the President's Briefing Book on - “Health Freedom is Our First Freedom!”

Addendum: Kindly accept this PETITION requesting that Congress amend the pending bills to include a specified Rule of Interpretation:


To Amend the Food Safety Modernization Act
H.R. 875 [and Substitutes]

By the Addition of the

Natural and Family Food and Farming Exclusion Amendment

To:  The Members of the Congress of the United States of America:

Whereas the proposed Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services should focus its activities on the significant public administration issues involving the capacity of large scale, industrialized agriculture to threaten public safety,

Whereas organic and natural agriculture, family farms and ranches, and natural or organic food products, including dietary supplements are not a significant part of the food safety problem, and

Whereas Congress previously provided for an exemption for natural food dietary supplements from the increased agency authority granted by the FDA Modernization Act of 2007, through a rule of interpretation, added as section 1011 of that Act, and has on numerous occasions exempted small and family farms from the same level of regulation as has been deemed necessary in the case of industrialized agriculture,

The citizens ascribing to this Petition therefore hereby request that the Food Safety Modernization Act be defeated, or that it, or any substitute for it, such as H.R. 759, be amended to exclude organic and natural agriculture, family farms and ranches, and natural or organic food products, including dietary supplements, through a rule of interpretation, as follows:

“Rule of Interpretation"

“No provision of this act shall be deemed to apply (a) to any home, home-business, homestead, small farm organic or natural agricultural activity, (b) to any family farm or ranch, or (c) to any natural or organic food product, including dietary supplements regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.”

We also note the language of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC sec 203 (s) (2) which provides, "(2) Any establishment that has as its only regular employees the owner thereof or the parent, spouse, child, or other member of the immediate family of such owner shall not be considered to be an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce or a part of such an enterprise..." Language such as this would be helpful to allay our concerns.

If the FDA Center for Food Safety is to be moved into a new Food Safety Agency, then Dietary Supplements, regulated as foods under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) should be included in such agency, with the proviso that such substances, as foods, are deemed safe when used as directed.

Furthermore, the ascribing citizens Petition the Congress of the United States to declare it the public policy of the United States that organic and natural agriculture, family farms and ranches, and natural or organic food products, including dietary supplements shall be at all times free from suit, vexation, trouble, penalty, or loss of their goods, for the inestimable values they confer upon the public.

This action is shared between food, healthcare, global health, humanitarian aid, fair trade, poverty, genocide ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 

This is an ongoing pledge that should be fulfilled as often as possible

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keep Vigilant - If We Lose This Battle, Our Lives Will Be Forfeit!

I have been remiss in keeping up with this blog, so here's a list of links that should keep you all vigilant in regards to the dangers of genetically-modified foods: - Volunteers and resistant weeds hitting US farming - Controlling Our Food

The link above comes from Cosmic Egg, and below is a link to the video Controlling Our Food: - Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Seeds of Destruction" - Pt 3 - GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans - GM is Dangerous and Futile - The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science – Part 1: The Development of a Flawed Enterprise
Abstract: A major conflict has developed in science and society between promoters and opponents of transgenic foods. Food, feed, and fiber products derived from transgenic agricultural crops are presented here as a different case from bacterial, industrial, and pharmaceutical crop transgenics and should be parsed from the larger transgenics industry for comprehensive re-evaluation and market roll-back. Reviewed is the development of the crop transgenics industry; the early influence of the biotechnology industry over the US federal regulatory agencies in the context of the development of minimal regulation; the basic technology of plant transgenics; the main transgenic crops, traits, and producing countries; consumer resistance to transgenic foods; industry problems with shrinking investments; the worldwide promotion of transgenic crops; and ecological issues of transgenic crops. Flaws in the one gene–one protein model, the foundation of transgenics, are reviewed in the context of the recent and ongoing restructuring of the science of genetics. Research on the mutational consequences of plant transgenics and its phenotypic ramifications such as allergens and novel proteins is discussed. Major research findings and ‘red flag’ incidents in the history of transgenic foods and feeds are reviewed that reflect the flaws in the genetic foundations of transgenics.

I am a scientist. I understand that many past scientific achievements have improved the lives of human beings worldwide, but one thing that should not be tampered with is our food supply. This is dangerous in the extreme - the fact that scientists have created "terminator genes" that turn off the reproductive power of seeds is horrifying, and should be to you as well. Let's liken this possible catastrophe to the disaster currently taking place in the Gulf; witness BP's absolute lack of ability to stave off the leaking of millions of gallons of oil. Before they were allowed to drill underneath a mile of water, shouldn't they have had a plan, if and/or when things went awry?

They DIDN'T...and now, denizens of those gulf states are paying with their livelihoods.

You may have read about the farms that were taken from the farmers whose livelihoods depended on them, all because of cross-pollination of GM seeds with their crops. In no way should those companies ever been able to take away some farmers' crops; but that is exactly what has happened. Percy Schmeiser is a great example of the evil side of GM.

There is a great video called The World According To Monsanto - it looks like the full video has been removed from Google Video, but you can find it elsewhere. Here is a 30-minute excerpt.

WideEyeCinema has the full video.

I think we've a long way to go before GM foods are actually safe for consumption; and at this point, GM foods are strictly a profit-making venture, regardless of what the companies' mission statements may read. Until those two points are addressed, I see no reason why GM foods should NOT be labeled as such, and We The People can make an informed decision about what it is that we are ingesting.

British pressure for GM crops unwelcome in Europe

Governments in the UK have been accused of ignoring the safety concerns of many countries about new food technologies

John Vidal, environment editor, Monday 12 July 2010 20.10 BST

While the British government says GM crops are essential as the world's population grows, they have been banned in Germany

Britain is one of Europe's most vigorous cheerleaders for the expansion of GM crops. Along with Spain and the Netherlands it has lobbied the European commission to overturn the 12-year moratorium and has committed hundreds of millions of pounds of public money to agricultural research around the world.

The previous government, as well as leading scientists, argued strongly that GM crops are needed for national use as well as to help developing countries feed rapidly growing populations.
This stance was firmly backed last month by the new environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, who, in an interview with the Guardian, committed the coalition government to continuing and extending Labour's pro-GM position. She said she was in favour of GM foods "in the right circumstances".

Tomorrow's offer to allow national bans on GM crops in return for allowing large-scale commercial planting in other pro-GM countries is the latest attempt by the UK and other countries to open up the European market which they believe is worth billions of dollars a year.
"Britain regularly resists attempts in the European parliament to better regulate what remains a highly controversial industry," said Green MP and former European MEP Caroline Lucas.
"Opposition to GM crops is hardening in many European governments with Germany banning all the crops last year and Austria, France, Greece, Hungary and others invoking a 'safeguard clause' in EU legislation allowing them to ban them."

"Britain has consistently voted in favour of lifting GM bans, despite the safety concerns raised by other member states. It tried to end the EU moratorium on growing GM; it was the only EU state to oppose a plan to label food containing minute traces of GM material and last year it battled to prevent Germany banning a Monsanto maize crop," she added.
Friends of the Earth food campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said that some member states are losing confidence in the judgment of the European commission on GM issues.
"Thanks to the support of the UK government, commission president (José Barroso) has become a stooge of the powerful agro-tech industry, which threatens to dominate the global food industry of the future if left unchecked," she said.
"The UK government has been openly pushing to weaken European laws on 'zero tolerance' towards entry to the EU of illegal GMOs (genetically modified organisms). It wants to allow contamination of imports to the UK with GMOs unapproved in Europe. Defra and the Cabinet Office have said that UK animal feed could quadruple in price within two years if growers in Brazil and Argentina produce more GM soya, which is banned in Europe," she added. The GM crop would displace conventional soya so making it more expensive.
The government's chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, has been a strong advocate for using new technologies, such as GM, to feed a growing world population, estimated to increase by 3 billion within 40 years.
In January he called for a "green technological revolution" which was widely interpreted as a GM revolution. He told the Guardian: "If GM technology can address some of the problems in agricultural production that conventional breeding or other technologies cannot, or can address them more efficiently and effectively, then clearly we need to be thinking about adopting it."
Beddington's comments followed a Royal Society report which backed GM foods, and speeches by Gordon Brown and other ministers calling for a debate on the issue.
Lord Smith, head of the Environment Agency, said in February that GM technology would be crucial for adapting to climate change. "We probably need to be readier to explore GM options, coupled of course with proper environmental safeguards, in adapting to the changes that the climate will bring."
Britain plans to give an estimated £80m a year to the Cgiar network of international agricultural research organisations which do most of the world's publicly-funded GM research.
The Department for International Development is the second biggest national funder of the network and has promised a further possible £60m to research drought-resistant maize for Africa, pest resistant crops and biofortified rice modified to increase vitamin A. Much of the work is expected to be in GM technologies.
The GM industry argues that scientific evidence from 15 years of widespread use of the technology has shown it to be safe, popular with farmers and a way of making agriculture more sustainable.
"In looking at GM the UK government may have considered the food security needs of the UK, which is a densely populated country with an increasing population. They may be concerned that UK food self sufficiency went from 74% of all food in 1990 to 59% in 2007," said a spokswoman for Monsanto UK.
"In the future, Monsanto would like to offer UK farmers and ultimately consumers a choice of UK crops grown with GM."
Greenpeace urged countries and consumers to reject the EU proposals.
"Member states should be aware that in the next couple of weeks they will be offered an empty promise, the result of which stands to change irreversibly the face of European agriculture for the worse. We call on the European Parliament and member states to reject this deal to ensure a GM-free future," said a spokesperson for the NGO.

Check the comments to this article - you will see that the nay-sayers are dealing with actual issues of concern; the well-wishers are just sticking their heads in the sand.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ten Reason Why We Dont Need GM Foods

10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods

If you want to print this article as an A4 leaflet, download a PDF.
With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.

1. GM foods won’t solve the food crisis

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices.[1] GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!
“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry.” — Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent[2]
“The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s bullshit.” – Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales[3]

2. GM crops do not increase yield potential

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops.[4] In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.[5]
A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields. The author, former US EPA and US FDA biotech specialist Dr Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”[6]
“Let’s be clear. As of this year [2008], there are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.” – Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman[7]

3. GM crops increase pesticide use

US government data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.[8]
“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true.” – Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition[9]

4. There are better ways to feed the world

A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.[10]

5. Other farm technologies are more successful

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world.[11] Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.[12] [13]
“The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us understand crops better. That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [than GM].” – Prof John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics, John Innes Centre[14]

6. GM foods have not been shown to be safe to eat

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects.[15] Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food.[16] It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.
It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.[17]
“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist

7. Stealth GMOs in animal feed — without consumers’ consent

Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labelled. Some studies show that contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed ARE different from those raised on non-GM feed.[18]  Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products[19] and that the animals’ health can be affected.[20] So eating “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.

8. GM crops are a long-term economic disaster for farmers

A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for US farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, “At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the US that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”[21]

9. GM and non-GM cannot co-exist

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks.[22] In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape.[23] In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible”.[24]
The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.
“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” – Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development[25]

10. We can’t trust GM companies

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception.[26] GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes — even if those genes got into the farmer’s fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.[27]
“Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell.” – Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer[28]


1. A Note on Rising Food Prices. Donald Mitchell, World Bank report, 2008.
2. Hope for Africa lies in political reforms. Daniel Howden, The Independent, 8 September 2008,
3. GM: it’s safe, but it’s not a saviour. Rob Lyons, Spiked Online, 7 July 2008,
4. The adoption of bioengineered crops. Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo and William D. McBride, US Department of Agriculture Report, May 2002,
5. Glyphosate-resistant soyabean cultivar yields compared with sister lines. Elmore, R.W. et al., Agronomy Journal, Vol. 93, No. 2, 2001, pp. 408–412
6. Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops. Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009,
7. Genetic engineering — a crop of hyperbole. Doug Gurian-Sherman, The San Diego Union Tribune, 18 June 2008,
8. Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years. Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., The Organic Center, November 2009,
9. Family Farmers Warn of Dangers of Genetically Engineered Crops. Bill Christison, In Motion magazine, 29 July 1998,
10. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: Global Summary for Decision Makers (IAASTD). Beintema, N. et al., 2008,
11. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: Global Summary for Decision Makers (IAASTD). Beintema, N. et al., 2008,
12. Marker-assisted selection: an approach for precision plant breeding in the twenty-first century. Collard, B.C.Y. and D.J. Mackill, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Vol. 363, 2008, pp. 557-572, 2008
13. Breeding for abiotic stresses for sustainable agriculture. Witcombe J.R. et al., Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2008, Vol. 363, pp. 703-716
14. Gene mapping the friendly face of GM technology. Professor John Snape, Farmers Weekly, 1 March 2002, p. 54
15. Here is a small selection of such papers: Fine structural analysis of pancreatic acinar cell nuclei from mice fed on GM soybean. Malatesta, M. et al., Eur. J. Histochem., Vol. 47, 2003, pp. 385–388; Ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Malatesta, M. et al., Cell Struct Funct., Vol. 27, 2002, pp. 173-180; Ultrastructural analysis of testes from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Vecchio L. et al., Eur. J. Histochem., Vol. 48, pp. 448-454, 2004; A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver ageing. Malatesta M. et al., Histochem Cell Biol., Vol. 130, 2008, pp. 967-977; Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Ewen S.W. and A. Pusztai, The Lancet, Vol. 354, 1999, pp. 1353–1354; New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity. Séralini, G.-E. et al., Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., Vol. 52, 2007, pp. 596-602.
16. Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract. Netherwood T. et al., Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 22, 2004, pp. 204–209.
17. Trans Fats: The story behind the label. Paula Hartman Cohen, Harvard Public Health Review, 2006,
18. Report on animals exposed to GM ingredients in animal feed. Professor Jack A. Heinemann, PhD. Prepared for the Commerce Commission of New Zealand, 24 July 2009,
19. Detection of Transgenic and Endogenous Plant DNA in Digesta and Tissues of Sheep and Pigs Fed Roundup Ready Canola Meal. Sharma, R. et al., J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 54, No. 5, 2006, pp. 1699–1709; Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to animal tissues. Mazza, R. et al., Transgenic Res., Vol. 14, No. 5, 2005, pp. 775–784; Detection of genetically modified DNA sequences in milk from the Italian market. Agodi, A., et al., Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health, Vol. 209, 2006, pp. 81–88
20. Report on animals exposed to GM ingredients in animal feed. Professor Jack A. Heinemann, PhD. Prepared for the Commerce Commission of New Zealand, 24 July 2009,
21. The Magnitude and Impacts of the Biotech and Organic Seed Price Premium. Dr Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center, December 2009,
22. Risky business: Economic and regulatory impacts from the unintended release of genetically engineered rice varieties into the rice merchandising system of the US. Blue, Dr E. Neal, report for Greenpeace, 2007,
23. Seeds of doubt: North American farmers’ experience of GM crops. Soil Association, 2002,
24. Coexistence of plants and coexistence of farmers: Is an individual choice possible? Binimelis, R., Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 21, No. 2, April 2008
25. Choice: Less can be more. Roger Levett, Food Ethics magazine, Vol. 3, No. 3, Autumn 2008, p. 11,
26. See, for example, Marie-Monique Robin’s documentary film, Le Monde Selon Monsanto (The World According to Monsanto), ARTE, 2008; and the website of the NGO, Coalition Against Bayer-Dangers,
27. GM company Monsanto has launched many such lawsuits against farmers. A famous example is the case of the Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser. Just one article on this case is “GM firm sues Canadian farmer”, BBC News Online, 6 June 2000,
28. Monsanto ”Seed Police” Scrutinize Farmers. Stephen Leahy, InterPress Service, 15 January 2004,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

AP INVESTIGATION: Monsanto seed biz role revealed

Monsanto has engaged in the theft of private farms and the disenfranchisement of seed growers. Their Roundup pesticide has already created mutant strains of formerly-controllable weeds; their FrankenFoods are banned other words, Monsanto is BAD NEWS.

If you really need a primer on Monsanto, look no further than this movie - "The World According to Monsanto".