Tag Archives: gmo

With ‘Merger From Hell’ Reportedly Approved by DOJ, Warnings of Agrichemical Chokehold on Food System

Watchdog groups raise concerns after Wall Street Journal reports that Bayer’s bid to acquire Monsanto has been approved.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-9-2018

(L-R) Executive Vice President for the Agriculture Division of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company James Collins, President and CEO of Dow AgroSciences, LLC, Tim Hassinger, CEO of Syngenta International AG Erik Fyrwald, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience North America Jim Blome, and Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Monsanto Company Robb Fraley testify during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee September 20, 2016 on Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on ‘Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry.’Photo: Zimbio

Watchdog groups sounded alarms on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the proposed mega-merger of Bayer and Monsanto has cleared its final regulatory hurdle in the United States.

The reported approval from the Justice Department came “after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets,” the Journal reported, and despite concerns raised by hundreds of food and farm groups. It also comes weeks after the European Commission gave its thumbs up. Continue reading

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White House Caught Blackmailing EU to Force Them to Import GMO and Hormone-Laden Products

It appears that the Obama administration wants to leave the world with a lasting legacy of multinational corporate hegemony by blackmailing the EU into corporate subservience — all the while undermining state sovereignty through secretive supranational trade pacts.

Written by Jay Syrmopoulos. Published by Free Thought Project on 5-4-16.

"The lines of demarcation in TTIP are between the mutually exclusive interests of transnational big business and people and the planet; if the deal passes, the former wins and the latter lose," writes Mark Dearn. (Photo: Global Justice Now/flickr/cc)

“The lines of demarcation in TTIP are between the mutually exclusive interests of transnational big business and people and the planet; if the deal passes, the former wins and the latter lose,” writes Mark Dearn. (Photo: Global Justice Now/flickr/cc)

(Washington, D.C.) – In a stunning revelation, secret documents reveal the U.S. pressuring the EU to approve the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade pact through coercion and threats.

The 240 pages of leaked text from the secretive trade pact reveal the Obama administration threatening to block European automobile imports into the U.S. if the EU continues to refuse U.S. genetically modified products and hormone-treated produce.

The White House made clear the intention to block European car exports into the US to force the roughly 500 million strong EU to buy more environmentally risky US farm produce, according to the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung, along with two German public television channels.

In an attempt to undermine the extremely secretive negotiations surrounding the trade deal between the U.S. and EU, Greenpeace released the texts, which were then made public by the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung. The German DPA news agency confirmed the authenticity of the documents.

Effectively, by blocking car exports into the U.S., Obama wanted to force the EU to replace its precautionary consumer safety principle with the liberal U.S. approach of permitting foodstuffs until risks are proven, said ARD network’s channels NDR and WDR.

The EU operates under a principle that goods must first be certified as safe, which has often been cited by them as a means to constrain imports of American gene-manipulated and hormone-treated produce.

The goal behind the U.S. actions is to undermine the strict food safety regime of the EU in an effort to open up new markets for American produced GMO fruits and vegetables, which European regulators feel would potentially erode the health of EU consumers and adversely affect Europe’s agriculture industry overall.

The long-term impact of genetically engineered products remains unknown, as there have been no studies on prolonged and regular/heavy usage of GMO products, as is seen in the average American diet. While there has been a major correlation between the introduction of GMO into the U.S. food system and an epidemic of obesity, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, there are no conclusive studies linking them.

It appears that the Obama administration wants to leave the world with a lasting legacy of multinational corporate hegemony by blackmailing the EU into corporate subservience — all the while undermining state sovereignty through secretive supranational trade pacts.

This article is republished under a free and open use permission from Free Thought Project.

Editorial Comment:
The debate about GMO safety remains hotly contested. The above article states “While there has been a major correlation between the introduction of GMO into the U.S. food system and an epidemic of obesity, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, there are no conclusive studies linking them.” We contend that those who are developing and marketing GMO products also pay lobbyists to prevent these very studies. We did find an opposing point of view, and welcome your additions in the comments section.

 

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The DuPont and Dow Chemical Merger: Bad Deal for People and the Planet

Groups are calling on the Department of Justice to reject the deal to protect food supply

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-11-2015

"Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with," said Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Desmanthus4food/Wikimedia/cc)

“Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with,” said Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Desmanthus4food/Wikimedia/cc)

Watchdog groups are sounding the alarm after two of the oldest and largest corporations in the United States—DuPont and Dow Chemical—announced Friday plans to merge into a $130 billion giant, thereby establishing the world’s biggest seed and pesticide conglomerate.

The new behemoth, named DowDuPont, would then be split into “three independent, publicly traded companies through tax-free spin-offs,” according to a joint corporate statement marking one of the the largest deals of 2015.

These companies would focus on agriculture, material science, and “technology and innovation-driven Specialty Products company,” the statement continues. Together, they would form the second-largest chemical company world-wide. Continue reading

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‘Monsanto’s Dream’: Pro-GMO DARK Act Comes to Congress

Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to reintroduce anti-consumer, anti-choice, anti-labeling, pro-GMO law

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for CommonDreams, published March 25, 2015.

 Calling the legislation "diabolical and deceptive," critics of Pompeo's bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)


Calling the legislation “diabolical and deceptive,” critics of Pompeo’s bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)

The battle over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, reached the U.S. capital on Wednesday when news broke that Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo will reintroduce a bill that blocks states from requiring GMO labeling.

The legislation, dubbed by critics the Deny Americans the Right-to-Know or DARK Act, grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services sole authority to mandate GMO labeling and sets forth particular standards for any label that contains claims that GMOs were or were not used in the production of the food— hampering any attempts by the Food and Drug Administration to pass legislation on the federal level. Continue reading

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Tough to swallow: TTIP’s threat to our food and farming

For the sake of our food and its impact on our environment, TTIP needs to be stopped.

Written by Magda Stoczkiewicz. Published February 26, 2015 in OpenDemocracy.

TTIP protest in London, July 2014. Photo by World Developement Movment  [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

TTIP protest in London, July 2014. Photo by World Development Movement [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For a decade, dozens of trade deals have been negotiated, signed and implemented without garnering much public attention in Europe. So what is it about the EU-US trade deal, currently being hammered out, that has caused such an outcry?

The opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, has surprised many. 50,000 marched in protest on a cold winter’s morning in Berlin. Municipalities across France have declared themselves “TTIP-free”. The Slovak Food Chamber demanded that food and farming be excluded from any deal. Nearly 1.5 million people have signed a petition to have the negotiations stopped.

Environmental, social and labour groups across Europe – Friends of the Earth Europe included – are outraged and actively campaigning. Continue reading

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Marching Against Monsanto Madness

Tami Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto. By SarahBethB1 (March Against Monsanto Salt Lake City, UT 5.25.13) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tami Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto. By SarahBethB1 (March Against Monsanto Salt Lake City, UT 5.25.13) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On November 6, 2012, Proposition 37 was rejected by California voters. The ballot measure would have required labeling of genetically engineered food (with some exceptions), and would have disallowed the labeling of genetically engineered food with the word “natural”. In response to that outcome, Tami Monroe Canal founded March Against Monsanto, believing that it was in her daughters’ best long term interests.

Monsanto is the world’s largest producer of genetically engineered seed, as well as being the manufacturer of herbicides such as Roundup. The herbicides have been proven to cause health risks such as birth defects, cancer, organ damage and auto-immune conditions. The genetically engineered seed has been the centerpoint of numerous patent lawsuits here in the U.S., with the prime example being Bowman v Monsanto Corporation. In the Bowman case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Bowman, a farmer who had bought seed from a grain elevator, was guilty of patent infringement as the elevator had some Monsanto seed in it, and that he specifically bought from the elevator to skirt Monsanto’s  contract saying that a farmer cannot save seeds from previous crops and must buy new seed each year from Monsanto. 

Blister caused by Roundup exposure. By Tael (own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

Blister caused by Roundup exposure. By Tael (own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

Monsanto was also one of the two companies producing Agent Orange for the U.S. government; the other being Dow Chemical. The horrors of Agent Orange exposure are too lengthy to go into here; it’s been linked to numerous diseases, cancers and mutations, as well as being an ecological disaster for the countries it was used in.

The first March Against Monsanto was held on May 23, 2013 in over 350 cities, mostly in the U.S. The second was held on October 12. Yesterday, May 24, the third March Against Monsanto took place, with events happening in more than 50 countries and 400 cities around the globe. It’s hard to say how many people took part in yesterday’s events; last year over 2 million people marched in the protests,

March Against Monsanto May 2014, San Francisco. Photo by Occupy Monsanto via Facebook

March Against Monsanto May 2014, San Francisco. Photo by Occupy Monsanto via Facebook

Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with yesterday’s marchers. We’ve seen how Monsanto, slowly but surely, is positioning itself to become the only player in town when it comes to providing seed for the crops we eat. We’ve seen the devastation their herbicides, pesticides and defoliants create. And, crop diseases and pests who eat the crops are mutating to become herbicide and pesticide resistant.

The time to stop Monsanto’s madness is now.

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Patented Crops of Court Rulings

Soybeans and corn fields. Photo by Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Soybeans and corn fields. Photo by Dwight Burdette (Own work) CC-BY-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Over a million individual farmers, growers and organic agriculture professionals were recently sent the message by the US Supreme Court that Monsanto has more rights than they do, under the laws and courts of the United States. The high court refused to hear the appeal in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, et al., v. Monsanto Company, et al. Supreme Court Case No. 13-303, filed in 2011.

The decision means that the courts, whose rulings are based on limited understanding of farming practices and issues, will not hear enough evidence to fully understand the plight of the American farmer. Monsanto retains their right to sue farmers, but farmers do not have the right to sue Monsanto.

Monsanto has no shame in their handling of the issue. On their website, they claim “The vast majority of farmers who are presented with facts showing infringement admit the violation and pay a settlement.” Interpretation: We intimidate with fear and heavy handed tactics until the farmer admits we’re bigger than they are – then we make the farmer pay.

They continue with “Since 1997, we have only filed suit against farmers 145 times in the United States. This may sound like a lot, …but it’s really a small number. Of these, we’ve proceeded through trial with only eleven farmers. All eleven cases were found in Monsanto’s favor.” Interpretation: We’ve actually filed suit on 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in 29 states, and intimidated over 4,500 farmers into out-of court settlements. We just don’t want you to know. about any of that, as we want the number to look small. We got all but 11 of the cases dismissed, but we are bigger than them, we have more money and highly paid attorneys and have bribed lobbied more branches of government than the average farmer even knows exists. Undefeatable, we will win every time, so we don’t really need to care. (See CorpWatch and Center for Food Safety reports.)

What can we do? On May 24, 2014, March Against Monsanto is organizing a global action with rallies in most major cities of nearly all nations.
Write or call
your state and national representatives, telling them your opinion that favoring a corporate giant over a small farmer is not acceptable. Putting the nation’s food supply at risk is not acceptable. GMO foods are not accepted in most foreign markets, also risking the jobs and economic stability of those farmers growing export foods – this is not acceptable.

Tell everyone, spread the word and GET INVOLVED!

Corporations are not people. Money is not speech.

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