Today the Supreme Court is spending 70 minutes hearing the case of Monsanto vs. Bowman. This case is undoubtedly going to be a landmark case.
Monsanto is infamous for its historical business tactics and for how much it has affected people and families across the world. Here’s some of the bigger ones:
- Monsanto has sued hundreds of small farmers across the United States and Canada because their GMO seeds have cross-pollinated with normal seeds, resulting in *their* genes (genes they’ve patented) being found in the fields of farmers who had not paid to grow them.
- There are thousands of farmers committing suicide in India (estimated to be 2-3 per day) in what has become known as the ‘suicide belt’ because their crops are failing. A few years ago they were sold to believe that Monsanto’s Round-up Ready seeds would be worth the investment, producing and abundance of food, and that the plants would be stronger and able to resist problems with pests and weather. Many farmers were in debt, but they still chose to buy the GMO seed, even though it was more expensive, believing that it would relieve many of the problems associated with farming, get them out of debt, and even bring them prosperity. It has only made things worse. The seeds carried the ‘Terminator’ gene, which means that the 2nd generation of seeds are not viable and will not grow… and the farmer is forced to purchase more of the expensive seed the next year. And not only that, the farmers are having to purchase expensive pesticides and provide more water to these GMO plants. The farmers cannot afford it and their livelihoods are crumbling. Many are committing suicide out of despair.
- Monsanto’s GMO foods have entered the food system. We’ve been eating them for years, and it’s only relatively recently that people started realizing they were in foods. High fructose corn syrup is number one because it’s in practically everything. It’s highly likely that if it has high fructose corn syrup in it, it’s from a GMO crop. But that’s not the only one. Here’s a quick list of ingredients to watch out for:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Soy milk
- Soybean oil (partially or fully hydrogenated, or not at all)
- Cottonseed oil (partially or fully hydrogenated, or not at all)
- Corn starch
- Modified corn starch
- High maltose corn syrup
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Vegetable oil (if it contains corn oil or any of the other oils listed)
- Soy lecithin
- Corn flour
- Yeast products
- Xanthan gum
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Amino Acids
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Did you miss the recent research that came from France on GMO’s? Rats fed diets containing GMO’s developed massive tumors and 70% of the female rats died early. Think about the corn flakes in your cupboard, or the corn chips on your shelf. What about the fruit snacks your kids eat that contain high fructose corn syrup?
- Prop 37 was a proposal in California to require labeling of GMO food, informing consumers which food contained GM ingredients. It was defeated by voter decision after Monsanto and Dupont contributed around $35 million dollars to defeat it. Why? If they’re so proud of their products, don’t they WANT people to know that they’re eating them?
And now farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman is facing up against Monsanto in front of the Supreme Court today, February 19, 2013. Monsanto launched a suit against him months ago for planting seed that he purchased from a grain elevator that contained their GM genes (Round-up ready genes), claiming that he was required to pay them for using their GMO seeds. These seeds were 2nd generation seeds, meaning they were the seeds produced by plants that originally grew from GMO seeds. The questions being contended in front of the Supreme Court today have to do with whether or not a company can claim patent ownership on something once it has been sold, and whether or not they can claim patent ownership on replications of that ‘thing’. (Seeds they sold will grow into plants and produce more seeds. The question is, do they own those 2nd generation seeds that were produced by plants grown from seeds the farmers already paid for, in fields that the farmers own?)
If Monsanto loses this court case, they will likely still produce GMO seeds and sell them. But to be sure they get paid every time their GMO seed is planted, they will likely insert the infamous “Terminator” technology in each seed. This ‘Terminator’ gene prevents 2nd generation seeds from being viable. Imagine eating the seeds, or products of the seeds, that have grown on plants containing the Terminator gene. (Think corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soybeans, soybean oil, soy milk, cornstarch, corn flour, etc.) And what if those plants that grow from “Terminator” seeds cross-pollinates with other plants? What will happen to our corn, beans, cotton, etc? To be honest, we don’t know. Nobody does.
Another note… GMO alfalfa is being eaten by cows now. Think about the rats in the France study. We don’t know what GMO alfalfa will do to cows. No one has studied it yet…. but they’re eating GMO alfalfa anyway. And what about the milk, cheese, butter, cream, etc. that is made from their milk? We don’t know what effect that milk will have on people yet either. Maybe there won’t be any effect at all. Maybe there will.
And guess what else? GMO alfalfa fields can be planted right next to fields that have been designated as organic alfalfa fields now. So you can’t even be sure what that will or will not do to your organic milk. Alfalfa is pollinated by insects and plants are easily cross-pollinated. Outcome is yet to be determined. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.
I don’t think I want to be part of a case study with undefined controls or parameters. I think I’ll stay out of this one as best I can.
Further Reading & Resources