Tag Archives: farmers

Monsanto’s 5 Evil Contributions

Foodfacts.com recently discovered an article on Takepart.com that basically summarizes the products that Monsanto is credited for. Take a look at the list below, and wonder if Monsanto really has human health as one of their top priorities.

By Oliver Lee.

Oh, Monsanto, you sly dog.

You keep trying to make us believe you are “committed to sustainable agriculture” with your canny advertisements on American Public Media, even as you force-feed farmers your lab-grown Frankenseeds that expire every year (which are, let’s be honest, opposite of sustainable).

But we shouldn’t be surprised by the mixed message, should we? After all, you’ve been doing this for decades. With long-running corporate sponsorships like Disney’s Tomorrowland building reserves of goodwill as you spray us with DDT, it’s clear you’re entitled to send out products into the world with nary an environmental or health concern—just as long as you spend a bit of that hard-earned cash convincing us otherwise.

On that note, let’s take a quick look at some of the biotech giant’s most dubious contributions to society over their past century in business.
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1. Saccharin

Monsanto burst onto the scene in 1901 with the artificial sweetener saccharin, which it sold to Coca-Cola and canned food companies as a sugar replacement.
Sweet, low, and according to the FDA, no longer carcinogenic. (Photo: costco.com)

But as early as 1907, the health effects of the sweetener were being questioned by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists.

“Everyone who ate that sweet [canned] corn was deceived,” said Harvey Wiley, the first commissioner of the FDA. “He thought he was eating sugar, when in point of fact he was eating a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health.”

After enjoying decades of unfettered consumption, the sweetener was slapped with a warning label in the ’70s when it was found to cause cancer in lab rats.

A subsequent three-decade effort by Monsanto to reverse the decision finally won out in 2001. After all, how could a product derived from coal tar not be safe for consumption?
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2) Polystyrene

By the ’40s, Monsanto had moved on to oil-based plastics, including polystyrene foam (also known as styrofoam).
This cup will be still be here in a thousand years. (Photo: nationalaquarium.wordpress.com)

As most of us are aware by now, polystyrene foam is an environmental disaster. Not only is there nothing out there that biodegrades it, it breaks off into tiny pieces that choke animals, harm marine life, and release cancer-causing benzene into the environment for a thousand years or more.

“Polystyrene foam products rely on nonrenewable sources for production, are nearly indestructible and leave a legacy of pollution on our urban and natural environments,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin in 2007. “If McDonald’s could see the light and phase out polystyrene foam more than a decade ago, it’s about time San Francisco got with the program.”

Despite the ovewhelming evidence against it, the noxious containers are still pervasive elsewhere around the country. Amazingly, they were even voted to be reintroduced into House cafeterias by Republicans earlier this year.
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3) Agent Orange

First developed as an herbicide and defoliant, Agent Orange was used infamously as a military weapon by the U.S. Army during Vietnam to remove the dense foliage of the jungle canopy.
This is what Agent Orange exposure looks like.

In the process, they dumped over 12 million gallons of the potent chemical cocktail—described by Yale biologist Arthur Galston as “perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man”—over towns, farms, and water supplies during a nine-year period.

“When [military scientists] initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide. . .,” said Dr. James R. Clary, a former government scientist with the Chemical Weapons Branch. “However, because the material was to be used on the ‘enemy,’ none of us were overly concerned.”

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that lack of concern led to 4.8 million exposures to the herbicide, along with 400,000 deaths and disfigurements and 500,000 babies born with birth defects.
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4) Bovine Growth Hormone

Did you know the United States is the only developed nation that permits the sale of milk from cows given artificial growth hormones?
Nothing like the taste of hormones in the morning. (Photo: bigteaparty.com)

With the lone exception of Brazil, the rest of the developed world—including all 27 countries of the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—has banned growth hormone use in milk destined for human consumption.

Why all the lact-haters? Milk derived from hormone-injected cows shows higher levels of cancer-causing hormones and lower nutritional value, leading even the most stubborn U.S. courts to rule in favor of separate labels for hormone-free milk.

“The milk we drink today is quite unlike the milk our ancestors were drinking without apparent harm for 2,000 years,” said Harvard scientist Ganmaa Davaasambuu. “The milk we drink today may not be nature’s perfect food.”

According to the Center for Food Safety, thanks to increased consumer demand (and certain movies), approximately 60 percent of milk in the U.S. is rBST-free today.
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5) Genetically-Modified Seeds

Not content to do mere incidental damage to the environment, Monsanto decided to get to the root of the matter in the ’80s: seeds.
Just remember: We are what we eat. (Photo: deminvest.wordpress.com)

But with much fuss being made over the company’s aggressive scare tactics and rampant mass-patenting, the biotech giant has, true to form, fought back with a multimillion-dollar marketing and advertising campaign featuring smiling children and making outlandish claims that “biotech foods could help end world hunger.”

“Unless I’m missing something,” wrote Michael Pollan in The New York Times Magazine, “the aim of this audacious new advertising campaign is to impale people like me—well-off first-worlders dubious about genetically engineered food—on the horns of a moral dilemma…If we don’t get over our queasiness about eating genetically modified food, kids in the Third World will go blind.”

What’s clear is that no matter what its justification, Monsanto is a) never giving away all these seeds for free; and b) rendering them sterile so that farmers need to re-up every year, making it difficult to believe that the company could possibly have the planet’s best intentions at heart.

“By peddling suicide seeds, the biotechnology multinationals will lock the world’s poorest farmers into a new form of genetic serfdom,” says Emma Must of the World Development Movement. “Currently 80 percent of crops in developing countries are grown using farm-saved seed.”

“Being unable to save seeds from sterile crops could mean the difference between surviving and going under.”

(TakePart.com)

Organic Farmers Win Legal Battles Against GMO Companies

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As many Foodfacts.com followers know, GMO has been a major controversy for many years now. Organic farmers, and consumers alike have protested genetically modified pesticides, herbicides, and seeds plaguing their farm lands. For some that are unfamiliar with GMO farming, it’s important to know that once you use a product or plant a seed, the control is out of your hands. This has been one of the downfalls of genetically modified agriculture; and a constant struggle for organic farmers. These uncontrollable GM products have been crawling their way onto other properties and ridding the title of “organic”, which causes financial issues for farmers that must take control of these situations. Below is an article we came across featuring this same issue. However, it is the farmers that may have the last laugh.

(NaturalNews) Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson’s farm.
Assorted fruit
The first time it was realized that pesticides had drifted onto the Johnson’s farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit of contamination can result in having to plow under that season’s crops, forget profits, and even lose the ability to grow organic crops in the same field for at least a couple years.

The Johnson’s let the first incident slide. But after the second, third, and fourth times, they decided that enough was enough. Following the second pesticide drift in 2002, the Johnson’s filed a complaint with the Minnesota Agriculture Department, which eventually ruled that PFU had illegally sprayed chemicals on windy days, which led to contamination of the Johnson’s organic crops.

PFU settled with the Johnson’s out of court, and the Johnson’s agreed to sell their tainted products as non-organics for a lower price, and pull the fields from production for three years in order to bring them back up to organic standards. But PFU’s inconsiderate spraying habits continued, with numerous additional incidents occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2008, according to the Star Tribune.
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After enduring much hardship, the Johnson’s finally ended up suing PFU in 2009 for negligence and trespass, only to receive denial from the district court that received the case. But after appealing, the Johnson’s received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides, herbicides, and even GM particulates, that contaminates nearby fields is, in fact, considered illegal trespass, and is subject to the same laws concerning other forms of trespass.

In a similar case, a California-based organic farm recently won a $1 million lawsuit filed against a conventional farm whose pesticides spread through fog from several miles away, and contaminated its fields. Jacobs Farm / Del Cobo’s entire season’s herb crop had to be discarded as a result, and the court that presided over the case acknowledged and agreed that the polluters must be held responsible.

Precedent has now been set for organic farmers to sue biotechnology companies whose GMOs contaminate their crops
The stunning victories of both the Johnson’s and Jacob’s Farm / Del Cobo against their chemical-polluting neighbors is huge, in that it represents a new set legal precedent for holding conventional, factory farming operations responsible for the damage their systems cause to other farms. And with this new precedent set, many more organic farmers, for instance, can now begin suing GMO farmers for both chemical and genetic pollution that drifts onto their farms.

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto’s patented materials were the trespassers at fault.
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Be sure to check out the extensive and very informative report compiled by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) entitled Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers for a complete history of Monsanto’s war against traditional American agriculture: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/…

But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose “frankencrops” are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Genetic traits are highly transmissible, whether it be through pollen transfer or seed spread, and organic and non-GMO farmers have every right to seek damages for illegal trespassing when such transmission takes place. It is expected that many more organic farms will step up and begin seeking justice and compensation for damage caused by crop chemicals, GM materials, and other harmful invaders.

For too long, Monsanto has been getting away with suing farmers whose crops have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented genetic traits and chemical materials, and winning. Thankfully, the justice system seems to now recognize the severe error in this, and is now beginning to rightfully hold polluters and trespassers responsible. Monsanto, your days are numbered.

Farmers Sue Monsanto

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Foodfacts.com recently came across this article about farmers in India fighting against major agribusiness, Monsanto. What are your thoughts? Check it out.

In India, Bt Cotton has become one of India’s biggest cash crops, accounting for over 90% of their cotton production. If you are not familiar with Bt cotton, it stands for bacillus thuringiensis cotton. Basically, BT is a GMO gene that is placed in the cotton plant to act as a pesticide.

The problem is, it damages the soil over time and usually farmers are left fighting another insect that the Bt doesn’t repel.

One company managed to corner the market on these GMO Cotton seeds in India and, you guessed it, that company is Monsanto. The creators of Agent Orange, the deadly cancer-causing chemical that was used in Vietnam, now has an international monopoly on the GMO and seed business.

In 2005 a decision, it was announced that Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds would be allowed in India, after much lobbying by Monsanto. Since then, there has been an alarming suicide rate among farmers in India that is connected to the failure of the Monsanto GMO (genetically modified organism) cotton seeds.

Now an agrarian crisis has hit Maharashtra itself thanks to the Monsanto program. Farmers are buying 11 packets of 450 gm per hectare as per the company’s guide for the recommended “population method” but the sudden demand and ill-managed Indian sub agents have brought the company big trouble as 50% of the Bt cotton seeds failed to germinate even after its second sowing.
cotton
The Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti farmer’s advocacy group has approached the local state Govt. of Maharashtra to arrange a high level probe of all complaints received from farmers of west Vidarbha where more than 10,000 cotton farmers have committed suicide since June 2005 after the introduction of the killer Bt cotton seeds in this region.

The Monsanto Bt cotton seed crisis heated up in early June when all Bt cotton seeds ordered by Maharashtra dealers sold out it to the adjourning Andhra farmers and there was no seed available to cater to the local market.

Monsanto sub-agents had failed to respond to a state govt. request, and then suddenly Bt cotton seeds were freely available in the market by the third week of June.

A source supply was immediately discovered and Yavatmal police raided the house of Nerendra Indurkar in the very small village of Munjala and reportedly caught him red handed packing local cotton seed in the pockets of branded Bt cotton. Police have sealed the advanced imported pocket packing machines and thousands of packets of Bt cotton seeds being sold on the premium.

However the alleged culprit, Nerendra Indurkar, was allowed to go without any interrogation. Officials at Monsanto were called and facts were shared but they denied any link with this bogus Bt cotton seed supply racket.

Now that the stage has been set and a timeline has been created, here enters the Monsanto official….

When news of a Monsanto senior official’s arrival from Mumbai reached the nearby village of Munjala, cotton farmers of the village Karanji, about 140 K.m. from Nagpur, located the Monsanto official and took him to their field where a complete failure of ‘Paras Sudarshan’ Bt cotton seed was shown to him.

When the Monsanto representative failed to admit the lapse, he was severely beaten up by the farmers. It was reported that even a local agriculture officer did not come to his rescue. This, from accounts in daily papers in Vidarbha and the Marathwada region of Maharashtra where more than 4 million hectares under Bt cotton cultivation are reporting the flood of bogus seed supplied local agents of American cotton seed MNC giant Monsanto.

At this point, although the situation was reported, the administration has failed to take any action of this serious issue. So, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prathiraj Chavan to order a judicial enquiry into the supply racket of bogus BT. cotton seed in Maharashtra, and also to start criminal action against the culprit, Tiwari added.

Monsanto has done a lot of horrible things without any remorse — the agent orange they made doesn’t just affect the person who comes into contact with it; it goes on to affect their children, and their children’s children. Many hard-working farmers have lost everything, including their lives, due to Monsanto.

I imagine many who read this will grin when they read what happened to the Monsanto official. Did some kind of justice get served by the Indian farmers out in that farm field? Well maybe, but violence is never the answer. Then again, try to explain that to the India farmers.

(Planetsave)