Is Monsanto Really Wicked or Misunderstood?
Over two million protesters rallied in 300 cities in 44 countries around the world on Saturday, as part of a global protest against the seed giant Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces.
The debate over genetically engineered food has been going on since the FDA concluded that there was no difference between genetically engineered and non-engineered plants in 1992. Genetic engineering advocates claim that the GMOs could reduce World hunger and increase nutritional quality in foods. Unfortunately, most of these claims have been debunked repeatedly, as Anna Lappe explains in her 2011 article on Civil Eats.
The March Against Monsanto movement is initiated by the founder and organizer Tami Canal. She has created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company’s practices.
Monsanto representatives told the Associated Press that the company respects people’s rights to express their opinions on the topic, but it stands by the seeds it sells.
Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified.
China, Russia, and about 60 other countries require labeling if a food contains GMO ingredients. Despite efforts on state and federal levels to require labeling, at the present GMOs do not have to be labeled in U.S.A.
The Proposition 37 which would have made California the first state in the nation to require labels on some fresh produce and processed foods whose DNA has been altered by scientists, have been defeated last November.
On March 2013, President Barack Obama signed off on a bill what has become widely known as “the Monsanto Protection Act” or formally titled HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013. Without any hearings on the matter, the Senate included language that gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the power to override any court ruling that would otherwise halt the planting of new genetically-engineered crops.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate rejected 71 to 27 an amendment to the 2013 farm bill that would let states require labels on food or beverages made with genetically modified ingredients.
One of the reasons for Monsanto’s extraterritoriality is that the company has significant influence on U.S.A Government. Over the past decades, at least seven high-ranking employees in the FDA had employment history with the Monsanto Company.
Monsanto is experiencing multiple international backlash. Five million Brazilian farmers are suing the Biotech giant for as much as 6.2 billion euros. They say that the company has been collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own.
In 2004, the public pressure was so intense against Monsanto’s emerging presence in Costa Rica that the biotech giant voluntarily withdrew its business efforts from the country entirely.
In 2010, shortly after the massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, U.S. has donated 400 tons of Monsanto aid seed to the country. In a remarkable display of protest, 10,000 Haitian farmers gathered and burned the entire donation of seeds.
There are multiple reports on several other countries fighting against the GMO crops such as Hungary’s decision to destroy nearly 1000 acres of corn because they were grown with genetically modified organisms, and China’s removing three shipments of GM corn imported from the US, because they were not labeled properly.
If you are not alarmed yet and want to give the benefit of doubt to the company, as I personally was trying to do, read this article titled: Monsanto hires infamous mercenary firm Blackwater to track activists around the world. If the Bio-tech giant is innocent, why does it need a private army?
One protestor was carrying a sign explained the problem with GMOs and Monsanto clearly:
Monsanto: Poisons our food, depletes our soil, bankrupts our farmers, corrupts our government, prohibits our food security for profit and power.