Posted by: Daisy Luther
July 20, 2013
Monsanto and their biotech buddies would have you believe that they are super-heroes, set on saving hungry children from starvation wearing a dazzling fake-green cape. In fact, in a recent attack on activists, Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant said that because critics “can afford” organic food, we don’t care about the plight of those who can’t afford it. “There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this, then everything else shouldn’t exist,” said Grant. “There is space in the supermarket shelf for all of us.”
Even Monsanto’s website is on the defense, with page after page attempting to justify what the biotech industry is doing to our food supply. It must be true if even leading “philanthropists” (and I use this term loosely) like Bill and Melinda Gates are behind the distribution of Monsanto crops across the globe. Right?
Actually, it’s all about the public’s perception. The push for acceptance of GMO foods has, thus far, been all about which team has the most money. Monsanto and their ilk can afford more television ads and more PR than anti-GMO activists can. Because the biotech companies, Big Food, and Big Agri can pay to spread their message, many people are convinced by their pure propaganda that GMOs are a necessary evil if the Third World is to avoid millions of slow, agonizing deaths by starvation. Because biotech is able to afford to blanket the media with their perspective, their view point is accepted as the correct one because that is the only perspective that many people ever hear.
But just because they shout the loudest, that doesn’t make it true.
How we address these misconceptions can mean the difference between swaying people to examine these claims more closely or causing them to stick their fingers in their ears and sing, “lalalalala…” to block us out. Here are some of the most common myths that Monsanto and friends would like you to believe about the wonderful world of GMOs.
Myth #1: No one has ever proven that GMOs are harmful to people.
Monsanto mouthpieces have been quoted time, time, and time again stating the untruth that genetically modified organisms have never been proven to harm people. It seems that they believe, like Joseph Goebbels, the uncontested King of Propaganda, that if you repeat a lie often enough, and with enough conviction, that it becomes the accepted truth.
The reality: Just a few of the results of a GMO diet (based on peer-reviewed studies) are: grotesque tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, severe allergic reactions, a viral gene that disrupts human functions…you can read more HERE.
Myth #2: GMO crops are the only way to solve world hunger.
The most common pro-GMO argument that you will hear these days is that genetically modified crops are the only way to feed the worlds burgeoning population. Without them, proponents claim that hunger will claim the lives of millions over the next decade. In the gospel of biotech, GMOs are the answer to world hunger. If you protest against GMO technology, you are cast as a cold-hearted elitist and the deaths of all of those suffering children in ***** (pick-a-3rd-world-country) rest firmly on your doorstep.
The reality: Sustainable agricultural practices are the answer to world hunger. GMO farming practices are not sustainable. Farmers who plant GMOs are not able to save their seeds from year to year due to patent infringement and poor fertility in the seeds. Therefore, after getting the first year of good harvests, the following year they must continue buying seeds, leading to perpetual debt and enough financial despair in India (the Bt Cotton scandal) that an Indian farmer took his own life every 30 minutes, after becoming the indentured servant of Monsanto and drowning in insurmountable debt. Well over a quarter of a million farmers died by suicide before the country banned the sale of Bt cotton seeds.
Real Change News agrees that biotech farming methods are not the answer to world hunger. They recommend “agroecology”:
Numerous reports from nonprofit, governmental and international organizations have concluded that food can be produced sustainably by bringing ecological principles to agriculture through a practice known as agroecology. The practice supports small-scale, traditional methods of farming and promotes crop diversity over a single-food crop, often referred to as a monoculture. Practicing agroecology also enables farmers to become independent and self-sufficient producers of natural, healthy foods.
Myth #3: GMOs need less pesticide spraying.
Monsanto claims that their Bt products require less spraying. It’s right HERE on their website (emphasis mine):
Crops with a Bt trait have been modified to produce a protein that is toxic to various forms of insect larvae. Bt proteins have long been used as topical sprays in conventional and organic agriculture because they are effective and can be used safely. Crops that are genetically engineered to carry the Bt trait allow farmers to protect their crops while eliminating or significantly decreasing the amount of pesticides sprayed.
The reality: Unfortunately, the best laid schemes of mice, men, and Monsanto often go awry. The Cornucopia Institute reports that was true for the first couple of years, but then use of pesticides and herbicides increased dramatically. (This, of course, resulted in a hefty profit for the producers of those chemicals who are…yep, you guessed it, Monsanto and the other biotech companies who produce the seeds.)
But a new study released by Food & Water Watch yesterday finds the goal of reduced chemical use has not panned out as planned. In fact, according to the USDA and EPA data used in the report, the quick adoption of genetically engineered crops by farmers has increased herbicide use over the past 9 years in the U.S. The report follows on the heels of another such study by Washington State Universityresearch professor Charles Benbrook just last year.
Both reports focus on “superweeds.” It turns out that spraying a pesticide repeatedly selects for weeds which also resist the chemical. Ever more resistant weeds are then bred, able to withstand increasing amounts – and often different forms – of herbicide.
At the center of debate is the pesticide glyphosate, the active ingredient in MonsantoMON +2.23%‘s Round Up. Food & Water Watch found that the “total volume of glyphosate applied to the three biggest GE crops — corn, cotton and soybeans — increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012.” Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.
Other organizations concur and even the mainstream media has been forced to report that pesticide and herbicide usage is on the rise. Check out these recent articles from Huffington Post and Reuters for more information.
Myth #4: GMO technology is comparable to the cross-breeding that our ancestors did to create hardier versions of heritage crops.
Check out this condescending blurb, straight from the horse’s …ummm….mouth (the Monsanto website):
Want to hear something extraordinary? Chances are, almost everything you’ve eaten in your entire life was genetically modified. The same was true for your parents…and your grandparents.
For more than 10,000 years, mankind has selectively bred plants and animals. The cows you see in farmer’s fields bear little resemblance to the ancient Aurochs from which they descended. And the corn you eat is the domesticated version of a wild grass called teosinte.
The reality: What our ancestors did, and what responsible farmers do, is cross-pollination of different varieties of the same plant. It is a low tech method that can occur naturally – but they just gave it a little bit of help in order to bring forth the desirable characteristics, like the drought-hardiness of one type of wheat combined with the shorter growing season required for another type of wheat. This is selective breeding. Genetically modifying seeds is a whole different ballgame, however. Here’s a great explanation from the Food Renegade website:
Unlike hybrid seeds, GMO seeds are not created using natural, low-tech methods. GMO seed varieties are created in a lab using high-tech and sophisticated techniques like gene-splicing.
Furthermore, GMO seeds seldom cross different, but related plants. Often the cross goes far beyond the bounds of nature so that instead of crossing two different, but related varieties of plant, they arecrossing different biological kingdoms — like, say, a bacteria with a plant.
For example, Monsanto has crossed genetic material from a bacteria known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) with corn. The goal was to create a pest-resistant plant. This means that any pests attempting to eat the corn plant will die since the pesticide is part of every cell of the plant.
The resultant GMO plant, known as Bt Corn, is itself registered as a pesticide with the EPA, along with other GMO Bt crops. In other words, if you feed this corn to your cattle, your chickens, or yourself, you’ll be feeding them an actual pesticide — not just a smidgeon of pesticide residue.
What’s even worse is that biotech has the ability to produce their seeds with a built in “terminator technology.” This means that the seeds cannot be saved from one year to the next (unlike the cross-pollinated seeds with which they try to claim kinship). Monsanto has patented the technology (called gene use restriction technology) but claims not to use it. This would produce sterile, lifeless seeds that could not be reused, leaving the farmers utterly dependent on the biotech companies for future crops while providing an ongoing stream of income for those companies. At this point they maintain their monopoly through a series of contracts and patents that require the repurchase of seeds annually.
Myth #5: If the FDA and the USDA allow GMO’s, they must be safe to consume.
Organizations like the FDA, the EPA, and the USDA all wear a shiny halo. They receive their power and influence from the mere fact that the public believes that their number one priority is the health and safety of the citizens they are supposed to be serving. All of the agencies vow that they are there to protect the public on their websites:
FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring that foods (except for meat from livestock, poultry and some egg products which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled; ensuring that human and veterinary drugs, and vaccines and other biological products and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective.
To expand economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production sustainability that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve and conserve our Nation’s natural resources through restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA’s purpose is to ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work…
The reality: All of the above is just feel-good, warm and fuzzy rhetoric. Perhaps there are employees that truly believe in what they’re doing, but the leadership is as sickeningly tainted as Bt Corn.
Part of the reason Monsanto has been so successful in the courtroom has been the company’s incestuous ties to the US de facto government. Despite the blatant conflicts of interest, Monsanto executives have held Cabinet, judicial and policy-making positions in the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. When you’re sleeping with the enemy, the enemy tends to get away with all manner of crimes.
- Michael Taylor: VP of Monsanto > Deputy Commissioner of the FDA
- Roger Beachy: Director of the Danforth Plant Science Center (paid for by Monsanto) >director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- Elena Kagan: Obama Solicitor General (when she famously took Monsanto’s side against organic farmers in the Roundup Ready Alfalfa case) > US Supreme Court justice.
- Clarence Thomas: General Counsel for Monsanto > US Supreme Court justice.
- Margaret Miller: Monsanto supervisor > Deputy Director of Human Food Safety
- Donald Rumsfield: Board of Directors for Monsanto’s Searle Pharmaceuticals > US Secretary of Defense
- Ann Veneman: Monsanto Board of Directors > US Secretary of Agriculture
- Linda Fisher: Assistant Administrator at the EPA >VP of Monsanto > Deputy Administrator of the EPA
- Dr. Michael A.Friedman: Deputy Commissioner of the FDA > Senior VP of Monsanto
Make no mistake, the commissioners, directors, and secretaries of these agencies are put in place for a reason. That reason is to grease the wheels for the wealthy biotech firms (and drug companies and Big Food companies and…well, you get the idea). Through an abuse of trust placed in them by the American people, they abuse their power and practice deception on the grandest scale imaginable.
If the FDA, USDA, or the EPA approve something, you might want to view it with more suspicion than acceptance. If they can say that radiation and pesticides are acceptable in your food, but that raw milk isn’t acceptable for consumption…well, there’s something incredibly wrong here.
– See more at: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/the10-gmo-myths-that-monsanto-wants-you-to-believe-07202013#sthash.mRSzMG5c.dpuf