Tag Archive: Genetic engineering


Monsanto Wins Worst Company of 2011 Award

Natural Society has awarded Monsanto the Worst Company of 2011 award for its ongoing work to threaten human health and the environment.  Currently responsible for 90 percent of all genetically-modified (GM) seed in the US, the biotechnology giant is also the leader in developing genetically-modified (GM) seeds and the resulting crops worldwide.   But Monsanto is perhaps best known for its herbicide Roundup, which many experts link to soil damage and herbicide-resistant superweeds, not to mention potential health problems.

Contrast “Worst Company of 2011” to Forbes Magazine’s listing of Monsanto as one of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies.” Monsanto may be innovative if you consider its genetic modification of the world’s food supply without concern for the environmental and health impacts “innovation.” (As an aside: you may recall that Nazis were called “innovative” too yet look at the atrocities they committed!) More and more scientists would disagree with Forbes.

In a recent study of genetically-modified corn, scientists found that the genetically-modified food may be linked to organ damage, namely liver and kidney damage, in rats.  Published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, this study is calling into question the safety of “Frankenfoods” as they are also known.

John Fagan, PhD, molecular biologist and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) expert commented on the study and Monsanto’s neglectful reporting methods on nongmoproject.org:

“The paper was a landmark study. Monsanto was forced by court to release raw data and Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team applied careful statistical methods that revealed the Monsanto had glossed over many important effects of the GMOs. In particular, Monsanto had used inappropriate criteria for judging whether results were biologically significant or not. A common case was that they rejected as biologically unimportant any effect that showed up in male animals or in female animals but was not observed in both. The fact is that sex related differences are common in physiological responses particularly in liver and kidney responses. Also, Monsanto rejected as biologically unimportant effects that were not proportional to dose. That is, if the effect was strong at low doses but weaker at high doses, they would reject the effect as biologically insignificant. Yet it is well known that many effects, especially endocrine effects, are stronger at low doses than at high.”

But Monsanto continues to disregard the warning signs about GMOs and instead, ships them in droves around the world.  Monsanto has also been blamed for the many suicides of farmers in India who used Monsanto’s GM-seed but failed to yield crops to support their families.

Now, American farmers are taking a stand against Monsanto by launching a lawsuit against the billion-dollar corporation for widespread genetic contamination. The farmers, like many others, are concerned that Monsanto is threatening the integrity of organic farms worldwide.  Many organic farms have been devastated by genetically-modified crops.  Currently, most of the world’s wheat, soy, canola, and corn are now genetically-modified.

Percy Schmeiser—a humble farmer in the Canadian prairies endured a decade-long lawsuit initiated by Monsanto—and is now declaring victory. His farm was contaminated by GM-seed so Monsanto slapped a lawsuit on HIM, as they have done with other farmers, charging him with patent infringement.  But in this modern day David-and-Goliath story, Percy fought back.  Over 320 hectares of his land were found to be contaminated with the company’s patented “Roundup Ready Canola.”  Schmeiser slapped a lawsuit back on Monsanto, charging the company with libel, trespassing, improperly obtaining seed samples from his farm, callous disregard for the environment for its introduction of genetically-modified (GM) crops without proper controls and containment, and contamination of his crops with unwanted GM plants. Monsanto finally settled out of court to clean up Schmeiser’s land.  Percy Schmeiser’s victory over Monsanto is a victory for all farmers, all Canadians, and everyone who eats…that’s everyone.

Is it any surprise that Monsanto was selected as the Worst Company of 2011? Perhaps that it didn’t receive Worst Company of the Century award…but such an award doesn’t exist.

For more information about the Worst Company of 2011 Award, visit Natural Society.  For more information about Percy Schmeiser’s victory over Monsanto or to help him with his giant legal bills visit his website:  percyschmeiser.com.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/monsanto-wins-worst-company-of-2011-award.html#ixzz1lKuwPn24

Read more:http://www.care2.com/greenliving/monsanto-wins-worst-company-of-2011-award.html#ixzz1lKuGVcLq

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You may not want to eat genetically modified (GM) foods, but chances are, you are eating them anyway. There are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.

Monsanto is one of the most malevolent organizations and considered the most hated company in the world. Genetically modified foods are now accepted as one of the biggest threats to all living things.


7 REASONS TO NEVER EAT GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS

1. Increased 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.

“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.

2. They Have Been Shown To Be Dangerous To Your Health and Unsafe 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. However, animal feeding tests have shown that GM foods have toxic effects, including abnormal changes in organs, immune system disturbances, accelerated aging, and changes in gene expression. Very few studies have been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. One such study 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.

GM foods are an imminent threat to humanity’s food supply. Besides the ethical concerns, genetic pollution is self-perpetuating. It can never be reversed or cleaned up. Genetic mistakes will be passed on to all future generations of a species. Wind, rain, birds, bees, and insect pollinators have begun carrying genetically altered pollen into adjoining fields, polluting the DNA of crops of organic and non-GM farmers. This has been happening all over the world for more than a decade. Theoretically, it genetic pollution continues, it could obliterate the world’s natural organic food supply. Use of herbicide-resistant crops will also lead to an accelerated increase in the use of herbicides, resulting in even greater pollution of our food and water with toxic agrochemicals.

“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

3. GM Foods Are Hidden In Animal Feed

As a spokesperson for Asgrow, a subsidiary of Monsanto, said, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” The GM industry has avoided, to a degree, the problem of consumer rejection of GM foods by hiding them in animal feed. 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.  Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and affect the animals’ health. So eating these “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.

4. 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. In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape. 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”.

The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.

Alfalfa is the main forage crop for dairy cows and one of the principle foods for beef cows, especially grass-fed cattle. Alfalfa is a perennial, easily lasting five years once planted. And it’s bee-pollinated, which means each year, every non-GM alfalfa plant within five miles of every GM alfalfa plant will likely be contaminated by GM genes.

“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.

5. 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.”

6. GM Companies Cannot Be Trusted

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. 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.

Monsanto has been the largest player in the GM foods game. They have single handedly made the United States the world’s biggest producer of GM foods, pesticides and herbicides. Founded in 1901, Monsanto has manufactured industrial chemicals (e.g. sulphuric acid), plastics and synthetics, and saccharin, a carcinogenic artificial sweetener. It has also produced or granted production licenses for most of the world’s toxic PCB’s which are now mostly banned worldwide.

“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.

7. GM Foods Will Never Solve The Food Crisis

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. Biofuels are crops grown for fuel rather than food. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels — 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, The Independent (UK).

“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, University of Glamorgan, Wales.  Read more

Kelley Bergman is a media consultant, critic and geopolitical investigator. She has worked as a journalist and writer, specializing in geostrategic issues around the globe.