A group of biotech seed companies have launched an online forum to rebuff disapproval of genetically modified foods across the world. Activists and consumer groups are skeptical, saying the industry has a ‘track record of being anything but transparent’.
The website is said to be partly backed by the biotech US giant Monsanto, DuPont and Dow AgroSciences, according to Reuters.
Founders of www.GMOAnswers.com say the website was created “to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs.” Its launch is part of the biotech industry’s campaign to respond to concerns for GMO food labeling and tighter regulation in the US.
“This… is an effort to increase the dialogue. That is all we want,” Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer told Reuters. “Dialogue is good. Over time I think we’ll come to a common understanding.”
Tag Archives | Monsanto
In response to Saul of Heart’s recent article in which I quote:
By all means, let’s March Against Monsanto. But then let’s put genetic engineering into the hands of forward-thinking, progressive scientists so we can start a real agricultural revolution.
I ask the question: Can some genetically modified foods such as so called “golden rice” be completely divorced by the Monopolistic Agenda of Monsanto?
Not so easily, I’m afraid. Not When the biggest supporter of the golden rice project, named in the article is The Gates Foundation, which recently bought 23 million dollars of shares in Monsanto and appoints former Cargil and Monsanto executives to head its development programs:
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The Gates Foundation has admittedly given at least $264.5 million in grant commitments to AGRA, and also reportedly hired Dr. Robert Horsch, a former Monsanto executive for 25 years who developed Roundup, to head up AGRA back in 2006. According to a report published in La Via Campesina back in 2010, 70 percent of AGRA’s grantees in Kenya work directly with Monsanto, and nearly 80 percent of the Gates Foundation funding is devoted to biotechnology.
Monsanto’s GMO lifeforms have a habit of mysteriously popping up in places where they were not expected to be found.
In the case of Canada, where GMO wheat is not approved, geese may have caused the crop’s escape from a controlled experimental site, the Ottawa Citizen reports:
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Canada geese may have spread seeds of genetically modified wheat grown at the Central Experimental Farm, documents from Agriculture Canada show.
The fear is that these geese may have left poop with living GM wheat seeds that could allow GM wheat to spread outside the controlled field. The issue blew up in 2012, taking the Agriculture Canada department by surprise.
GM wheat is not approved in Canada. Many growers, including the Canadian Wheat Board, strongly oppose it, saying that growing GM wheat will make all Canadian wheat harder to sell in Europe and Asia. And the last thing any grower wants is to have ordinary wheat crops accidentally mixed with the GM varieties.
Kristen Schmitt writes at Urban Times:
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Monsanto, the mistress of the GMO initiative, needs a wake up call. While campaigns to label genetically modified organisms increase and state governments work to bring the legislature into action, many Americans are not aware of just how entrenched Monsanto is within national and global food production. Whether it is due to the call of convenience or general ignorance of the millions of genetically engineered ingredients masquerading as food, the biggest blow we can deliver to the GMO giant is to convince the general public to divest from Monsanto (and the rest of the biotech food industry) completely.
What does it mean to divest? Let’s take a page from the current college playbook and replicate what activist Bill McKibben has done for fossil fuels and climate change – and apply it to our food. Colleges across the country are stepping up and divesting from the companies that support fossil fuels in a nationwide campaign to illustrate how wrong it is to profit from climate damage.
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Let me get a few things out of the way.
I’m a crazy fucking hippie. I go to Burning Man every year. I teach yoga. I live in a co-op. For the past two years I’ve been delivering organic vegetables for a local delivery service. I’ve been eating vegetarian for years, and vegan for the past four months.
I’m also fascinated by genetics. I read every book that comes my way on evolutionary theory, population genetics, and mapping the genome. I took several classes on the subject at the University of Pennsylvania. All told, I have a pretty solid understanding of how genes work.
And ultimately, I’m just not that scared of GMOs.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand where my liberal friends are coming from.
Truthout on the regime of rural surveillance and suspicion instituted by multinational seed companies:
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The GMO regime has initiated a “new era of feudalism,” by powerful multinationals who have consolidated their control over the lives and practices of farmers everywhere.
Monsanto boasts one of the largest corporate security operations in the world, with agents working both openly and undercover in rural counties throughout the United States and Canada. Monsanto’s investigators show up at front doors, and in some cases in the middle of farmers fields, making accusations, brandishing surveillance photos and demanding to see the farmer’s private records or to be handed over their hard drives.
Monsanto also has its own toll-free tip-line (1-800-ROUNDUP) where farmers are invited to inform on their neighbors, as thousands have reportedly already done. “Instead of helping each other with barn-raisings and equipment sharing,” a CFS report states, “those caught saving seed, a practice that is hundreds of years old, were turned into ‘spies’ against their neighbors, replacing the atmosphere of cooperation with one of distrust and suspicion.” Critics accuse the company of fraying the delicate social fabric which holds farming communities together.
Via RT USA:
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A genetically modified strain of wheat that was never approved by the United States Department of Agriculture as been discovered growing in Oregon, triggering a federal probe that is now spanning several states.
Investigators with the USDA want to know why the GMO crop, made by biotech company Monsanto but never approved for use, sprouted up in a field in the Pacific Northwest.
America’s wheat trade could be jeopardized if concerns grow among foreign consumers already weary of genetically engineered and modified organisms. Several countries across the European Union have banned the cultivation of GMO crops, and last weekend anti-Monsanto demonstrations were attended by millions of protesters on six continents.
The USDA has yet to approve any GMO strain of wheat to be grown in the US, but Monsanto field tested a genetically engineered variety from 1998 through 2005 before withdrawing their application from the agency’s regulatory approval process.
Monsanto—one of the largest agriculture and biotech companies in the world—creates genetically engineered seeds and food, or GMOs. They’ve also brought the world toxic chemicals like DDT, PCBs and even Agent Orange.
But who is Monsanto really? Why do many see them as one of the most evil companies on the planet—and why did 2 million people worldwide just stand up and march against this single company?
Monsanto vs. the World puts to rest the myths and shows the shocking reality. In this meticulously researched, short ebook, which cites nearly one hundred scholarly journals, books, studies, articles, WikiLeaks and even Monsanto’s own documents.
Al Lewis summarizes the polar opposites represented in Monsanto’s war of words with activists protesting the corporation’s actions, for MarketWatch:
…If you go to Monsanto’s website, you’ll see so many boasts about “preserving the planet,” “sustainability,” and “social responsibility” you’ll think they belong to the Green Party. The company talks about supporting human rights, feeding the world’s poor, being a steward of the environment and saving everything from polar ice caps to the rain forest.
If you look up what protesters are saying, Monsanto is all about its “Frankencorn.” As one protester’s sign put it: “Still wondering how the zombie outbreak started? One word: Monsanto.”
Here’s a colorful sampling of the back-and-forth, culling quips from both sides:
Protester: “If you’re so proud of your products, why don’t you label them?”
Monsanto: “People will … prosper, through healthier diets, greater educational opportunities, and brighter futures fueled by more robust local economies.”
Protester: “If bees die, we die.”
Monsanto: “We will use sound and innovative science and thoughtful and effective stewardship.”
Protester: “Control the food supply and you control the people.”
Monsanto: “We will listen carefully to diverse points of view and engage in thoughtful dialogue.”
Protester: “Congress is Genetically Contaminated … GMObama!” (GMO stands for genetically modified organism.)
Monsanto: “We’re … focused on fighting rural hunger in America.”…
[continues at MarketWatch]
Is opposition to Monsanto gaining momentum? It would certainly seem it from this past weekend. Via Yahoo! News:
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Two million people marched in protest against seed giant Monsanto in hundreds of rallies across the U.S. and in over 50 other countries on Saturday.
“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they wanted to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Founder and organizer Tami Canal said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries.
The ‘March Against Monsanto’ movement began just a few months ago, when Canal created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company’s practices. Together with Seattle blogger and activist Emilie Rensink and Nick Bernabe of TheAnti-Media.org, Canal worked with A-Revolt.org digital anarchy to promote international awareness of the event. She called the turnout “incredible,” and credited social media for being a vehicle for furthering opportunities for activism.