Thursday, October 7, 2010

Monsanto, Roundup Ready Crops and Our Health

Not that I wish ill will on anyone, but reading “After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsanto” in The New York Times on Tuesday made me smile just a teeny, weenie, little bit.

Monsanto, depicted in the documentary “Food, Inc.” as a ruthless corporate behemoth, finds itself, according to the article, in some financial trouble:
“Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak of creating ever more expensive genetically engineered crops is coming to an end.”
(In an era of complete fiscal absurdity, take Monsanto’s possible losing streak with a grain of genetically modified salt; financial trouble for Monsanto means net income of $1.1 billion in the fiscal year that just ended, down from $2.1 billion a year ago.)

Why do so many consider Monsanto so evil?

For starters, Monsanto sells genetically engineered crops (grown from Roundup Ready seeds) that are resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide (main active ingredient: glyphosate). This means that farmers can spray their land with Roundup—which kills every weed in sight (or used to, but that’s another story)—and know their Roundup Ready crops will survive intact.

This wouldn’t be so bad if glyphosate wasn’t so dangerous. A recent study showed direct links between glyphosate and embryonic abnormalities in frogs and chickens. The researchers saw obvious correlations between these animal defects and human birth defects recorded in areas subject to the spraying of Monsanto’s Roundup.

Considering Monsanto’s market share of the conventional corn and soy grown in this country, we should all be very worried. And not to scare the bejesus out of you, but understand that genetically modified corn and soy are omnipresent in almost all non-organic packaged and processed foods, plus make up a large percentage of the feed given to our non-organic livestock.

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