But while other countries run from the problem, the U.S. government is content to let its citizens serve as guinea pigs.


The same worries apply to contamination from GM crops. Ask Frank Morton, who grows organic sugar-beet seeds in Oregon's Willamette Valley and is among the few non-GM holdouts.

This became abundantly clear in 2010, when a federal judge demanded that all U.S. farmers stop planting GM sugar beets. Farmers were surprised to find that there was very little non-GM sugar-beet seed to be had. Since the GM variety was introduced in 2005, Monsanto had driven just about everyone out of the market.

Morton's farm is just two miles from a GM sugar-beet farm. Unfortunately, beet pollen can travel as much as five miles, cross-pollinating other farmers' fields and, in the case of an organic farmer, threatening his ability to sell his crop as organic and GM-free. The contamination can arrive in the most benign ways.

He recalls how a landscaper bought potting soil from a nearby GM beet farm, then sold it to homeowners throughout the area. A scientist from Oregon State University happened to discover the error. Morton claims the landscaper was forced to retrieve the soil — lest nearby farms become contaminated — paying his customers $100 each to not say anything.

It's especially galling because GM crops have perverted longstanding property law. Organic farmers, for example, are responsible for protecting their farms from contamination, since courts have consistently refused to hold GM growers liable.

Kansas farmer Bryce Stephens had to stop growing organic corn and soybeans for fear of contamination; he has 30-foot buffer crops to protect his organic wheat. (Wheat pollen doesn't travel far.)

"Monsanto and the biotechs need to respect traditional property rights and need to keep their pollution on their side of the fence," says Maine farmer Gerritsen. "If it was anything but agriculture, nobody would question it. If I decided to spray my house purple and I sprayed on a day that was windy, and my purple paint drifted onto your house and contaminated your siding and shingles, there isn't a court in the nation that wouldn't in two minutes find me guilty of irresponsibly damaging your property. But when it comes to agriculture, all of a sudden the tables are turned."

Contamination isn't just about boutique organic brands, either. It maims U.S. exports, too.

Take Bayer, which grew unapproved, experimental GM rice at test plots around Louisiana State University for just one year. Within five years, these plots had contaminated 30 percent of U.S. rice acreage. No one's certain how it happened, but Bayer's rice was found as far away as Central America and Africa.

Within days of the announcement, rice futures lost $150 million in value, while U.S. rice exports dropped by 20 percent during the next year. (Bayer ended up paying $750 million in damages.)

Last month brought another hit. A Monsanto test of GM wheat mysteriously contaminated an Oregon farm eight years after the test was shut down. Japan and South Korea immediately halted imports of U.S. soft white wheat — a particularly harsh pill for the Japanese, who have used our white wheat in nearly all their cakes and confectionery since the 1960s.

Monsanto's response? It's blaming the whole mess on eco-terrorism.

Given the company's history, is it any wonder that developing countries like Ecuador, Peru, and Haiti have shied away from GM crops? Haiti felt strongly enough that in the wake of its 2010 earthquake, it turned down Monsanto's offer of seeds, even with assurances that the seed wasn't GM.

Brazil is poised to become the world's largest soybean exporter on the strength of Monsanto seed. Still, the country's farmers aren't big fans of the company. Thousands are suing Monsanto for more than $600 million after the company continued to charge them royalties two years after the expiration of its patent.

Trust, unfortunately, has never been Monsanto's strong suit. It's become one of the main motives behind the push for GM labeling.

"If they're going to allow the American people to be lab rats in an experiment, could they at least know where it is so they can decide whether they want to participate or not?" asks Lance Harvell, a Republican state representative from Maine. "If the FDA isn't going to do their job, it's time we stepped in."

Last month, Harvell's GM-labeling law overwhelmingly passed the Maine House (141-4) and Senate (35-0) and awaits the governor's signature. That makes Maine the second state (nine days after Connecticut) to pass a GM-labeling law.

The Right to Know movement has picked up steam since chemical companies defeated California's labeling initiative, thanks to a $46 million publicity campaign full of deceptive statements. A recent ABC News poll found that 93 percent of Americans surveyed support GM labeling.

When Vermont raised the issue a year ago, a Monsanto official indicated that the company might sue. But the states are smart. The new laws in both Maine and Connecticut won't take effect until other states pass similar legislation so they can share defense costs.

What's interesting is that Harvell, by his own admission, is a very conservative Republican. Yet on this issue, left and right have the same quest for greater caution.

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42 comments
Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

and alex jones is considered a nut/extremist/conspiracy theorist for reporting this same information years ago.

msweetwyne
msweetwyne

Question. Do you want a corporation to have control over the genome of your food?

Question. Do you want corporations to have unlimited influence over your government?

Question. Do you want a corporation to have control over the prices of the food you eat?

My answer. No!

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

why does EU ban the cultivation but allow import in food?

RSweeney
RSweeney

Monsanto's patents run for 20 years, then ALL of their seeds are free to all. The first Roundup-ready seed, soybean, goes off patent in 2014, with others following. These seeds will then be free for ALL to use without payment to Monsanto.

Farmers buy the seeds because they save them incredible amounts of money, increasing harvests while minimizing topsoil loss through tilling.

Try the 2 minute hate someplace else.


ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

We all learned in High School that life started with stromatolites (microbial life forms) creating our oxygen rich atmosphere over 2.5 billion years ago.  These are the life forms which we are evolved from.  These stomatolites are our "god" if there ever is one - our genesis.  Monsanto is at war with these life forms. We humans have over 10 times more microbial DNA material in and on our bodies than we have human DNA material - TEN TIMES MORE.  These microbes affect our minds and bodies - metabolism, mood, disease, etc. etc.  What these merchants of death are really doing is attacking our entire system of life on this planet.  Organic farming processes have proven that better food can be produced when working with all the life systems on our planet rather than against them.  These genetically modified crops are not tested against what they can do to negatively affect our environment, especially the microbial life on our planet which has stood the test of time as a good thing for us.  I encourage Monsanto, Dupont, etc. to research this area of their business better and make sure that they are working within the life systems of our planet and not interfering with it.  There is great promise in sequencing DNA and manipulating it, but a better understanding of how GAIA works in a holistic fashion is certainly called for.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archean

bernie.mooney
bernie.mooney

"Most of the innovative hybrids and cross-breeding was done the old-fashioned way, at public universities, and the results were shared publicly?" Plant patents have been around since the 1930s. With conventional hybrids have to buy new seeds each year because you can't replant them due to the fact they don't "breed true."

You want to stop Monsanto's control? Make it easier to get seeds approved. It can take up to $10 million to get a gmo approved. Small companies and universities can't afford that, so their seeds languish on the shelf. 

bernie.mooney
bernie.mooney

"Most of the innovative hybrids and cross-breeding was done the old-fashioned way, at public universities, and the results were shared publicly?" Plant patents have been around since the 1930s. With conventional hybrids have to buy new seeds each year because you can't replant them due to the fact they don't "breed true."

You want to stop Monsanto's control? Make it easier to get seeds approved. It can take up to $10 million to get a gmo approved. Small companies and universities can't afford that, so their seeds languish on the shelf. 

bernie.mooney
bernie.mooney

"Most of the innovative hybrids and cross-breeding was done the old-fashioned way, at public universities, and the results were shared publicly?" Plant patents have been around since the 1930s. With conventional hybrids have to buy new seeds each year because you can't replant them due to the fact they don't "breed true."

You want to stop Monsanto's control? Make it easier to get seeds approved. It can take up to $10 million to get a gmo approved. Small companies and universities can't afford that, so their seeds languish on the shelf. 

bernie.mooney
bernie.mooney

"Most of the innovative hybrids and cross-breeding was done the old-fashioned way, at public universities, and the results were shared publicly?" Plant patents have been around since the 1930s. With conventional hybrids have to buy new seeds each year because you can't replant them due to the fact they don't "breed true."

You want to stop Monsanto's control? Make it easier to get seeds approved. It can take up to $10 million to get a gmo approved. Small companies and universities can't afford that, so their seeds languish on the shelf. 

mshelton1001
mshelton1001

I have heard about Monsanto, but didn't understand the hubbub.  This article made it clear.  I wish they would have told us who to contact to voice are concerns.  Should we contact our senators and representatives?  Also, the seed we buy at Ace Hardware for our yard garden,  are those Monsanto?  I do support the labeling of Genetically Modified seeds on packaging.  

dkessler4
dkessler4

If you are as angry at Monsanto as I am and if you want to avoid genetically modified foods you might want to use your smartphone to buy wisely.  The only thing that these evil people understand is the money that they make.  There's an APP for that...  I use one called Buycott that allows me to avoid products that have anything to do with Monsanto.  I have nothing to do with the company that produces this APP.  I just do not want to continue to support companies that work consistently to undermine my or anyone else's best interest.  When their bottom line suffers they will listen and respect those that they do business with.  A Google search takes you to their site.

loosecannonsbluesban
loosecannonsbluesban

Please help fight the evil that is Monsanto - corporate greed at its worst - These are the "monied corporations" which Jefferson warned us about and which were the subject of the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of our country's constitution and bill of rights - we have a government which is intended to defend us against our enemies, including corporations which mean us NO GOOD!

http://www.organicconsumers.org/bytes/ob258.htm


royalphoenix
royalphoenix

Good article. When I go into a home improvement store to buy synthetic fertilizer, I never buy Monsanto. Home Depot sold out to them years ago. If I were the CEO of Monsanto, I would not push the farmers to much more, lest they will push back. I believed everything Anita Hill said about C. Thomas. He's a pig. peace

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

nonsense. They don't want to control the seed supply they just want to be a successful company making products customers want - they have achieved that for the US.  Farmers have a choice which is why the US fed cancelled their investigation into ant-trust (instigated by Monsanto's rival Dupont owner of an equal amount of market share. You hear about Dupont - why not ?  Because they start the stories at least before Now they have made a deal with Monsanto less from them. The next people who have smoked  too much weed are the organic millionaires who own a chunk of the organic industry in the US.  They have to get people worried about GM food in order to justify their higher prices for organic food. But it is organic food that is killing people (WholeFood cheese and sprouts in Germany) and sickening (Costco organic blueberries carrying hep A disease), Yet 16 years of GM crops zero hospitalizations let alone no deaths. 3 billions planted and harvested and eaten ! You are the one that has a twisted sense of reality

kkemmerer
kkemmerer

@Marco Cruz Let's play "name that logical fallacy!"

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@RSweeney After 20 years, Monsanto buys congress again and gets them to extend the date for patents to expire - we know the drill Mr. corporate spokesperson.  Farmers buy the seeds because the government (bought and paid for by Monsanto) provides them subsidies to do so.  Because the crops are not rotated, the soil suffers greatly and doesn't support any other crop after a while without a large amount of fertilizer.  Hell, if they just grew hemp between crops, that would automatically till the soil and regenerate it because it fixes nitrogen.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

It's highly likely that these microbial mats which existed on this planet for millions of years developed (or possessed) some ancient type of neuron formations with which they "thought" and allowed them to act in concert across the globe.  If you want to make up stories about some all-powerful god in the sky - I can say that these stomatolites actually created this planet's ecosphere and allowed life to develop resulting in our evolution over 2.5 billion years.  Should not these and other microbial life forms responsible for our being here be the actual "god" we worship and protect?  I think so.  When there is another cataclysmic event which destroyed most of the life on earth in the future (which there WILL BE), it will be these same microbial life forms which will carry on our planets' "history" in the formation of a ecosphere on a new planet or again on this one.  We need to study these forms of life and learn how to protect and nurture them for our own benefit.  Killing these microbes indiscrimenently like Monsanto does is just stupid.


ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@bernie.mooney Why not just use the GMO process to determine what normal plant breeding to do in order to achieve the same effect?

RSweeney
RSweeney

@mshelton1001  

Learning about Monsanto from this article is like learning Jewish history from David Duke.

RSweeney
RSweeney

@deancook  

Right, back to cultivation, soil loss and the dust bowl.

dkessler4
dkessler4

@royalphoenix Check out an APP called Buycott that allows you to avoid Monsanto and other companies that they may own.  I agree with you that the only thing that will stop Monsanto is for them to lose money.  Hurt them in the wallet by making wise purchases.  That's what it's about.  

Brent_Lipman
Brent_Lipman

@ajkmsteph2  

Google: "70 sprayed by cropduster in eastern Illinois". There are 70 people to add to your list of people who have been hospitalized for working in a Monsanto corn-field.

dkessler4
dkessler4

@ajkmsteph2 Good.  Then you eat it.  I'll believe its safe when I see them serve it FDA and Dept of Agriculture potlucks...

RSweeney
RSweeney

@ExpertShot @RSweeney  

Sorry, no. You are wrong. 

Patent lengths have NOT been extended in the past two decades, when they went from 17 years to 20.  You are mistaking them for copyright, now set at a ridiculously long Mickey Mouse + 5 years.

I am retired R&D Director who once worked in the field of phytochemistry but with NO connection to Monsanto. Merely someone not willing to join the unthinking, unknowing mob.

GMO for herbicide resistance has NOTHING to do with crop rotation, which is instead driven by the cost of fertilizer vs the selling price/yield of crops.

bernie.mooney
bernie.mooney

@ExpertShot @bernie.mooney First, GM is not the solution. It's just one tool. Sometimes it's warranted, sometimes not and sometimes it's the only way. As to your question, quite often, but not always,  conventional can be used but it takes a long time. GM is quicker and more precise. Look at the case of the Hawaiian papaya in the 90s. The industry almost collapsed when a virus decimated 50% of the crops. A scientist, Dennis Gonsalves came up with a GM solution. That saved the industry and today the industry is thriving. In fact this year the Gov of Hawaii lauded Gonsalves for saving it. If they had waited for a conventional  solution which can take up to ten years to perfect there may be no more Hawaiian papayas.

deancook
deancook

@RSweeney @deancook 

You should look at what I am talking about. Using robots to weed field will in the long cost less then the herbicides to now.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@RSweeney What a stupid question.  What is dangerous about sugar at all that it must be labeled?  NOTHING, in moderation.  However, it is labeled on foods we eat.  It is for consumer education, part of a good system of capitalism.  The informed consumer and the choices they make are at the HEART of the capitalist economic system.  By withholding vital information that 75% of the people want and need in making their purchasing decisions, the government and Monsanto are actually acting in an anti-capitalist manner.  I want to know whether or not GMOs, which have not been adequately tested for their long term effects on the environment and the human body, are in the food I'm about to eat. I purchase items based on a number of factors, not just whether it might be harmful to me.  I'm not that selfish.  I want to know that it was grown in a manner which is consistent with a sustainable future for our farmers and our planet as well.  An educated consumer is at the HEART of our economic system.  You're obviously a commie!


RSweeney
RSweeney

@ExpertShot @RSweeney  

Sounds like you don't NEED GMO labeling to eat the organic foods you desire. 

So what is it about sugar from GMO beets that you find so dangerous it must be labeled?

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@RSweeney@ExpertShotLiar!  The purpose of labeling products as containing GMOs is to provide consumers more information - much in keeping with the principles of capitalism (you know, a knowledgable consumer).  You however are on the side of ANTI-CAPITALISM with your government laws which prevent citizens from being able to think for themselves.  

Thank you for educating people about how to avoid GMOs.  I don't eat commercial sugar - in fact I don't eat sugar at all, I eat Stevia - much sweeter, no calories, and actually nutritious in that if provides fiber.  I eat organic, GMO free corn products.  I eat meat and eggs which also have been certified organic (I eat few of these animal produced products).  It is not hard to avoid these products now, however, it is more expensive.  I want to be able to look at a product I'm buying and KNOW that because it contains GMOs, I'll be putting it down on the shelf and picking up the other brand of the same product NEXT TO IT.

Guess you didn't bother to read the articles accompanying my last post - or you did and you're continuing to LIE!
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27995.cfm

RSweeney
RSweeney

@ExpertShot @RSweeney  

I did answer the question. I OPPOSE labeling because it's purpose is to isolate and demonize a product unreasonably and that TRUE labeling is incredibly invasive and expensive, requiring DNA testing on a MASSIVE scale. Look at what the US wheat industry is going through at present. And this was a handful of plants in ONE location. Imagine every truckload of wheat being tested PRIOR to be used for flour. Insanity.

Do you really 100.00% TRUST that GMO free certification? REAL certification requires significant DNA sampling to detect markers, not just a certificate from a farmer stating "I don't (knowingly) use them."

 Do you eat products that contain commercial sugar? soy? Corn? Eat meat or eggs which are anything BUT range fed? If so, you are eating GMO.

Everything is toxic in some concentration. Glyphosate is very non-toxic and APPROVED as such worldwide, with significant testing. It doesn't bioaccumulate. It breaks down easily and rapidly into non-toxic products. Not an issue.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@RSweeney@ExpertShotLiar - it is not too expensive to certify.  Everything I eat is certified GMO free - not hard.

http://www.safe-food.org/-industry/certification.html

You won't answer the question - Do you think that foods containing GMO organisms should be labeled as such?

Here's a group which would argue your point that it serves no health purpose whatsoever.   Roundup is toxic to humans and should be studied more to determine how many cancers can be expected because of its use - people are dying every day from these pesticides and you're saying their safe?

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27995.cfm




RSweeney
RSweeney

@ExpertShot @RSweeney  

Given that >90% of the sugar beets (>40% of the US sugar), soy (including soy based ingredients like lecithin and proteins), and corn (including corn for corn syrup and oil) grown in the USA is GMO to one degree or another.  I go on the assumption that EVERYTHING made from ANY of these ingredients is GMO.


GMO labeling, incredibly expensive to certify as really GMO-free, only facilitates demonization and isolation and serves NO health purpose whatsoever.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@RSweeney @ExpertShot Oh, thanks for the info.  Might I ask your opinion on this subject?  Should foods containing GMO organisms be labeled as such?

kkemmerer
kkemmerer

@dkessler4 @sellickaz Whole Foods is no better than Monsanto! Hello!? Wake up. Oh, and GMOs themselves? They're just fine. Eat up.

deancook
deancook

@RSweeney @deancook 

Exactly, I am glad we agree. That is why I am try to build them. I plan on saving the planet one robot at a time.

RSweeney
RSweeney

@deancook @RSweeney  

And when that day of robotic precision weeding appears, which is cheaper and better, herbicide based no-til will disappear. And robot insect killers? Pesticides as well. But that day is not here.

Farmers will do it without laws. Without regulations. The are quite sensible that way.


 
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