It has been a couple of months since I last took a look at what is happening in the world of GMO food’s. I am pleased to report that it might seem that the Frankenfood manufacturers are not having it exactly their own way.

Lets kick off with the world of fish. The Huf Po has this interesting update. It is nice to see that some pressure is being put on the FDA over the Aquabounty Franken-salmon. Of course there is no guarantee that the FDA will pay any attention. When it comes to Big-Food, Big-Agri, and Big-pharma they do seem to have a tendency of just playing along. Well the FDA is essentially just a mouth piece for big-everything, a sort of retirement club for big-everything executives.

Everyones favorite GMO seed and weed killer producer Monsanto is also facing a few problems. It would love to have world domination of the seed industry, but has hit a hurdle in one of the most potentially lucrative world markets. China has opted to say NO. Monsanto is also having big problems in India over some Egg-Plant experiments, and it continues to be dogged in the EU. A great ’round-up of Monsanto fun can be found on this Gather.com article.

With all of these troubles in other parts of the world one has to ask the question, so how come they are so ‘popular’ in the US? Gather.com has the answer by way of a chart.

You can view the full size version here. Yup, it makes for interesting reading. The FDA, DOJ. and even the Supreme Court, Monsanto are everywhere!

Monsanto are taking some pressure at home as this NYT article explains. This article, while not going into great detail does touch on some very raw nerves.When a farmer finds that his crop has been contaminated by Monsanto seeds who gets sued? I’ll give you a clue, it is not Monsanto! Go figure the logic behind that one. Should one of these court actions make it to the Supreme Court it is all but a given as to the result. As the saying goes, it is handy having friends in high places.

The NYT article also touches on the subject of labeling. Big-food is fighting tooth and nail to avoid being forced to add ‘Contains GMO’ on a product label. They are equally adamant in their dislike of brands touting ‘GMO Free’. The very mention of GMO in any scenario has Big-food with their knickers in a knot!

The Nation also has an interesting article on GMO Labeling.

I found this interesting article on a new Monsanto GMO offering, GMO drought resistant seeds. I really enjoyed this snippet:

The drought-tolerant corn the USDA signed off on in December is the first approved crop of that kind. The trouble is, it doesn’t work very well. The USDA acknowledged as much in its Nov. 11 Final Environmental Assessment of the crop. It makes clear that the product’s “drought tolerance” extends only to “moderate” drought conditions, and it has the same “minimum water requirements” as conventional corn.

And then it drops this bombshell, citing Monsanto’s own field tests: “It is prudent to acknowledge that the reduced yield-loss phenotype of MON 87360 does not exceed the natural variation observed in regionally-adapted varieties of conventional corn (representing different genetic backgrounds).” Translation: In areas of the US corn belt where drought is a factor, conventional breeders have already developed varieties that do just as well under moderate-drought conditions as Monsanto’s genetically altered product.

Hmm, sounds like a waste of money. You can find the whole article here.

Of course Monsanto will strong arm farmers into buying this product, and woe to any farmer who finds his naturally drought resistant crop contaminated, he will find himself in the court room!

By the way, did you know that when you buy Monsanto GMO seeds it comes with a more than 40 page Terms Of Use agreement? I would supply a link to it, however it seems to be a document of national security and not available to the general public. Bits and pieces that I have been able to track down include:

The Grower grants Monsanto the right to inspect, take samples and test all of the Grower’s owned and/or leased fields planted with canola, or any other land farmed by the Grower, and to monitor the Grower’s canola fields and storage bins for the following three years for compliance with the terms of this Agreement…

Wow, all that over a bag of seeds? It seems it a little overboard.

I am also led to believe that the grower is not permitted to share any seeds, particularly for the purpose of independent research. In fact to the best of my knowledge no Monsanto GMO seed has ever been submitted for independent scrutiny. If they have nothing to hide, why the paranoia?

Simon Barrett

 

 

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