What we have to do when we talk about injustice is get people indignant, who ordinarily would not get indignant even though they know about this injustice. In a Business Week poll in 2000, 72% of the people polled said they think corporations have too much control over their lives. – Ralph Nadar
Today I received in the mail a newsletter called Organic View published by the Organic Consumers Association. The lead article is titled “THE FOOD FIGHT OF OUR LIVES”. In all honesty, I have been paying only some attention to the serious concern about Monsanto and the GMO fight (as in, those who are strongly opposed to GMOs and also those who want mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients.) If you need a definition of a genetically modified organism, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism.
I started researching a lot of information about Monsanto, and my original thoughts on writing a lighter blog on a different subject today dissipated quickly the more I read, and also after watching several film documentaries about what the American Farmer is up against. To say that Monsanto is not your friend is a fair assessment. This is a story of a corporation that has grown too big, and is seemingly out of control and in bed with a lot of governmental figureheads, agencies, and sadly, academic institutions.
Monsanto’s timeline alone is fairly incriminating. You can check out Montsanto’s Timeline on many websites, but one news service most folks have heard of and understand to be reputable, is reuters.com (for the actual Timeline: History of Monsanto Co. visit http://www.reuters.com/assess/print?aid+USN1032100920091111.
Here are some of the highligts of Monsanto’s history:
1901 Founded by John Francis Queeny, a 30 year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry.
1901 – 1902 Monsanto produces its first product, an aritificial sweetener, Saccharin.
1962 – 1971 Becomes one of the major companies supplying the herbicide known as Agent Orange.
1976 – Creates and aggressively promotes RountUp herbicide which becomes a global top seller.
Note: High residues of Roundup can be found in our food chain today. 90% of soy and canola are genetically engineered to withstand large quantities of RoundUp (that means that farmers need more to kill weeds, however, the weeds are becoming more resistant to RoundUp). New York State Attorney General sued Monsanto about RoundUp for the claims that it is “safe” and “environmentally friendly”. The settlement ended with Monsanto agreeing to not use these terms in advertising RoundUp in the state of New York. http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/fraud.pdf
2002 – 2003 Monsanto and Solutia, Inc. agree to pay $600 million to settle 20,000 claims by Anniston, Alabama residents that PCB (highly toxic chemical called polychlorinated biphenyl that has highly negative effects on the human endocrine and neurological systems) contaminated the ground and water. http://www.ethicalinvesting.com/monsanto/news/10074.htm
2006 – 2007 Monsanto buys many regional seed companies and cotton seed leader Delta and Pine Land Company indicating that Monsanto is gaining a monopoly on the seed industry.