Thursday, February 2, 2012
Biotech giant Monsanto has been declared the Worst Company of 2011 by NaturalSociety for threatening both human health and the environment. The leader ingenetically modified seeds and crops, Monsanto is currently responsible for 90 percent of the genetically engineered seed on the United States market. Outside of GM seeds, Monsanto is also the creator of the best-selling herbicide Roundup, which has spawned over 120 million hectacres of herbicide-resistant superweeds while damaging much of the soil. Despite hard evidence warning against the amplified usage of genetically modified crops, biopesticides, and herbicides, Monsanto continues to disregard all warning signs.
In a powerful review of 19 studies analyzing the dangers of GMO crops such as corn and soybeans, researchers revealed some shocking information regarding the safety of these popular food staples. Researchers found that consumption of GMO corn or soybeans may lead tosignificant organ disruptions in rats and mice – particularly in the liver and kidneys. This is particularly concerning due to the fact that 93 percent of U.S. soybeans are known to be genetically modified. Ignoring this evidence, Monsanto continues to expand their genetic manipulation.
Monsanto’s Genetic Manipulation of Nature
Outside of genetically modifying crops, Monsanto has also created genetically modified crops containing Bt. Bt is a toxin incorporated in GMO crops that are intended to kill different insects, however Bt usage has subsequently spawned insect populations which are resistant to the biopesticide. After being exposed to Bt, many insect populations actually mutated to resist the biopesticide. So far at least 8 insect populations have developed resistance, with 2 populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole. Farmers are therefore forced to use even more pesticides to combat the resistant bugs.
What is the answer to this problem, according to Monsanto? To further genetically modify the Bt crop to make it a super-pesticide, killing the resistant insects.
Tests, however, have concluded that further modified Bt toxin crop provided ‘little or no advantage’ in tackling the insects, despite extensive time and funding put into the research. It seems that Monsanto’s solution to everything is to further modify it into oblivion, even in the face of evidence proving this method to be highly inefficient. The research shows that this will undoubtedly lead to insects that are resistant to the most potent forms of Bt and other modified toxins, resulting in the use of even more excessive amounts of pesticides in order to combat pests.
Superweeds Infesting Over 120 Million Hectacres of Farmland
Thanks to Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, farms across the world are experiencing the emergence of herbicide-resistant superweeds. The heavily resistant weeds have an immunity to glyphosate, an herbicide that Roundup contains. These resistant weeds currently cover over 4.5 million hectares in the United States alone, though experts estimate the world-wide land coverage to have reached at least 120 million hectares by 2010. The appearance of these superweeds is being increasingly documented in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Europe and South Africa.
Of course, once again, the resistant weeds are so resistant to roundup that they require excessive amounts of herbicides. It is no surprise that the company is refusing to accept responsibility for the escalating cost of combating the weeds, stating that “Roundup agricultural warranties will not cover the failure to control glyphosate resistant weed populations.”
The World Says No to Monsanto
France, Hungary, and Peru are a few of the countries that have decided to take a stand against Monsanto. Hungary actually went as far as to destroy 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Peru has also taken a stand for health freedom, passing a monumental 10 year ban on genetically modified foods. Amazingly, Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization. The known and unknown dangers of GMO crops seem to supersede even executive-level governmental directives.
Anibal Huerta, President of Peru’s Agrarian Commission, said the ban was needed to prevent the ”danger that can arise from the use of biotechnology.”
France is the latest nation to say no to Monsanto’s GM corn maize, even in light of an overturned ban. It all began when France’s State Council overturned the ban on Monsanto’s GMO maize stating that it was not sufficiently justified. The organization then attempted to justify its decision by saying that the government did not give enough evidence to justify a ban. Under law, an EU country can only unilaterally ban a genetically modified strain if it can scientifically prove it is a risk to the health of humans, animals, or the integrity of the environment.
Even after the ban was overturned, it surfaced that French legislatures were planning to launch new restrictions regarding the use of Monsanto’s 810 maize on French soil. Even Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president of the French Republic, voiced his opposition to Monsanto’s GMO maize:
“The French government keeps and will keep its opposition against the cultivation of the Monsanto 810 maize on our soil,” Sarkozy said.
Worst Company of 2011
In nominating Monsanto the Worst Company of 2011 we are hoping to raise awareness over the threat that Monsanto poses to human health and the environment. Genetically modified organisms will only continue to threaten all living creatures if not stopped. It is through spreading the word that real change will come about, and declaring Monsanto the Worst Company of 2011 is a great way to highlight all of their reckless actions.