My 16-year old daughter asked me yesterday, “Why should we boycott Monsanto?” There’s been much discussion regarding Monsanto following the dismissal of a year-long federal class-action lawsuit against the corporation in February of this year. In that suit, a farmer’s consortium, The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, was seeking to have the company’s agricultural patents invalidated, saying they feared the appearance of Monsanto seeds in their fields.
Why is this a big deal? Monsanto is the world’s biggest producer of genetically modified (GM) seed. Monsanto is also well-known for developing an herbicide, glyphosate (sold under the brand name, Roundup). See where this is going? Monsanto created GM seeds specifically to withstand Roundup, making a farmer’s crop production more successful. Roundup is now the most widely-used herbicide in the United States. Brilliant, right?
According to Monsanto its herbicide is safe. However, there are a multitude of studies that demonstrate otherwise. For instance, researchers (Seralini, Clair, Mesnage, Gress, Defarge, Malatesta, Hennequin, Spiroux de Vendomois, 2012) found that Roundup-tolerant corn, as well as Roundup, provoked chronic hormone and sex dependent pathologies in rats. In the study, female rats died 2–3 times more mostly due to large mammary tumors and a disabled pituitary gland. Male rats had liver congestions, necrosis, severe kidney nephropathies and large palpable tumors. Here’s a link to the study: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005
Very scary stuff.
It doesn’t stop there. The runoff into our ground water, rivers, streams and neighboring farmland potentially puts Roundup into our bodies with every bite, every sip, without our permission. There’s also the related issue of the workers who apply the herbicide. Very bad news all the way around … unless you gain from Monsanto’s profit.
Perhaps the only way to facilatate change is to stop buying the products made with Monsanto’s GM products. If there’s enough public outcry those companies will be forced to stop buying seeds from Monsanto. Here’s a link to a list of companies that use Monsanto products: http://fracturedparadigm.com/2013/04/02/boycott-monsanto-a-simple-list-of-companies-to-avoid/
You might be dismayed to find that beloved brands buy from Monsanto, including Aunt Jemima, Frito Lay, General Mills, Pepperidge Farms, Pillsbury, Power Bar, Nabsisco … Hopefully just the mention of these brands will entice to take a look at the list in its entirety.
The answer? Make informed, powerful purchasing decisions. Buy local, buy organic. Money talks.