Who owns your food? Well, with Bayer AG buying Monsanto for $66 billion, one giant company is about to own nearly every aspect of the food chain.
Yes, that’s right, they’ll own it. Because Monsanto produces Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seed and Bayer makes the farm chemicals, they will own it. They own it because each of those components the farmer relies on is patented. They’re able to patent that seed because they’ve modified it through genetic engineering. Then they own what you eat and have the financial clout to “own” members of Congress and the Senate in those farm states.
The agricultural policy of the United States is skewed in favor of these big companies because of their financial clout. It is not in favor of the farmers or the consumer (you and me,) I had a Midwestern farmer/rancher friend explain to me how the giant ag companies pay for crops right below the subsidized price so the farmer makes little and the agri-giant makes money from the federal subsidies and own the supply chain marking up the food to the food manufacturing companies. Our tax dollars make Monsanto and Bayer AG their profits.
Do you think a giant, German based, multi-national, mega-corporation should own a huge chunk of the food supply?
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Who is protecting the average person? Is there an agency making sure that technology pushed onto the unknowing public isn’t harming us?
I have written numerous articles on my concerns with genetically modified organisms (GMO). But now every natural fragrance will be replaced with GMO yeast engines pumping out smells according to the New York Times?
I understand and support technology helping humanity, but shouldn’t we be careful about replacing everything in the wild with a lab-produced product? Is it a good idea to lose knowledge of the natural world and the remaining knowledge being chemistry?
We already have a massive problem of unregulated chemicals. We need to get a handle on the hundreds of millions of tons of chemicals we pump out every year and ensure safety before we continue down the path of potentially further toxifying not only ourselves, but the entire world around us.
And then we have the socio-economic issues of all of the poor, third-world farmers of the natural products. From the article:
“Rick Brownell, an executive at the Virginia Dare Extract Company, a leading supplier of natural vanilla based in Brooklyn, said 80,000 farmers in Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, grow vanilla beans.
“I really count on that to make a living,” said Bersonina, 63, a farmer in Madagascar. Bersonina, who uses only one name, said in a telephone interview arranged by the company that the $200 he made last year producing about 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds, of vanilla barely supported his family of four. He said he was not familiar with the yeast-made vanilla substitute but imagined that an industrial process “could make thousands and thousands of tons,” posing a threat to farmers like himself.”
Not a chemically synthesized product, but genetically modified yeast. Maybe a good thing, maybe not, there are a complex set of issues in this solution to a problem that really didn’t exist.
I agree, thank you Whole Foods for using your clout to give me information. But, a distant cousin who is a Ph.D in bio chemistry called my dad a luddite for wanting to know what is in his food.
My dad asked for help and here was my response:
Here is the briefest of summaries. I had a recent conversation with a geneticist who does genetic engineering for a fruit and vegetable agricultural giant. Here is what he and I agreed on:
1. Not all Genetic Engineering is bad. Many GMOs are simple gene sequences that have a specific, non-lethal purpose, like color, taste, and size.
2. Bt corn and soy are the two major problems. Bt in every molecule has never been tested at that level of toxicity. Even with expression limited to cellulosic areas, it will still be in feed.
3. Bt corn and soy encourage use of glyphosate. Many scientists are becoming alarmed at the appearance of glyphosate beyond human digestive system where the FDA approval said it would be destroyed. Glyphosate is now showing unexpected and potentially toxic effect on surrounding soil bacteria.
4. Original FDA approval of GMO was incomplete and done in a political, not scientific fashion.
5. No long-term studies outside of Monsanto, et al due to DMCA restrictions, therefore no independent studies can be completed in the United States.
6. As expected by people outside of laboratories, super-weeds are developing and spreading at a much more rapid pace than Monsanto & FDA predicted.
7. GE animals have much more insidious possibilities as non-GE killer bees have demonstrated. The geneticist supported an outright ban on GE Salmon as they will eventually make it into the wild and the effect on “natural” salmon is entirely unknown beyond the contamination of DNA.
I am not against GMO at all, as a free market capitalist, information is critical for making an informed decision. I want to know if my food contains GMO so I can make an informed decision. The supply chain already has this information in databases (as I am an architect of the SOP system for Cargill’s North American Corn division, same for Borden, etc.) there is zero additional cost beyond the pico-liter of ink for additional information on an already existent nutrition label.
Now that genetically engineered salmon are about to be approved by the FDA, how will you know if you are eating GE fish?
I have been warning you for a long time about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Genetically Engineered (GE) food. Watch out for AquAdvantage salmon. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the FDA is near approval.
With all of the precautions they are putting in place to make sure these salmon don’t destroy natural stocks, killer bees and the failure of the safety precautions come to my mind.
I even discussed with a geneticist recently the whole idea of GMO, the world in which he works. A GMO geneticist proclaimed his opposition to GE animals and fish to me in private conversation. A geneticist who makes a living genetically engineering produce thinks this is a terrible idea.
A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is one in which scientists take a DNA sequence, or gene, from an unrelated species and insert that gene via genetic engineering to achieve a perceived improvement in the original organism.
Do you remember learning about fruit flies in junior high science class, maybe something about a monk named Mendel breeding them to study genetics? These GMOs have nothing in common with the thousands of years of cross-breeding and hybridization that humans have performed to achieve desired traits in our food. That’s right, transgenic GMO is a concept foreign to Gregor Mendel’s dominant and recessive gene studies in garden peas.
For thousands of years we bred crops and animals to better suit our environment and thus us.
These giant companies have changed our food in an unnatural way so the food can be patented and they make more, you guessed it, money.
In the process they have misled consumers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been in on it. When GMO crops were originally approved for use we were told that the Bt toxin would break down in our digestive systems. We also were told that the glyphosphate (you know it as the trademarked RoundUp), the herbicide applied on the GMO crop, would breakdown in our digestive systems.
Recent studies have shown that we were not told the truth or the FDA did not perform complete studies.
A recent study from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, found maternal and fetal exposure to the Bt toxin from GMO corn. This shows that not only are the poisons not being broken down in our digestive systems, but that it also crosses the breast milk barrier that protects our babies.
So what about the original promise of increased food production so we can feed the world’s burgeoning population now exceeding 7 billion souls? Even that has been shot down. GMO food crops do not increase production at all, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
So why do we have GMO food? The agri-giants have lobbied relentlessly since they patent these products and make, yes, money on the seed, herbicides, and fertilizers.
The big food companies like General Mills and Kellogg’s want to lie to you using labels like “All Natural” and “Using Natural Ingredients”, so they can charge more, but they can still be GMO foods. California has Proposition 37 on the ballot this November to label GMO foods. If Californians pass this law, the whole country will benefit since food companies won’t make one package for California and one for everyone else. California is too big of a market.
If you live in California, please vote yes on 37.
As a consumer there are only two ways to protect your health from the onslaught of GMOs. Buy organic since GMO is not allowed under the USDA organic rules or grow your own food with heirloom seeds.
You are in control of your health. Make the right choice, say no to GMO.
And G-d said: ‘Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.’ And it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and G-d saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. Genesis 1:11-13