Have you ever wondered what happens when most of the world’s food supply (aka a prerequisite for human survival) is controlled by the hands of greed? Two million infuriated protesters across the globe raise their voices in a concerted effort to fight an invisible biotech giant known as Monsanto. March Against Monsanto, an international grassroots campaign and protest against genetically modified organisms (GMO), began its dispute in 2013 as an attempt to uncover truths about Monsanto and other biotechnology companies determined to keep humankind in the dark about the destructive effects of genetic agricultural engineering.
Why all the rage? Genuine concern for our future. It’s one thing to take a freshly picked ear of corn into a lab, douse it with chemicals, reconstruct it into something other than food, and eat it for dinner. It’s a whole other bag of tricks to sell that same mutated entity disguised as corn to someone who has no idea their next meal is an irresponsible, money-making science experiment gone terribly wrong, but looks entirely right.
Monsanto, an international agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, as well as the leading manufacturer of genetically engineered (GE) seeds, alters the DNA of crops in science laboratories by adding genes (cloning) and removing genes. These modifications are conducted for a number of reasons including delayed ripening, improved storage and resistance to herbicides and viruses. The plant is often harvested while still green and requires sprayings of ethylene to begin the ripening process once it has reached its destination. The very same company skillfully modifying our foods also sold aspartame and manufactured toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange, DDT (an odorless insecticide), PCBs (known to cause cancer) and rBST. If you’ve ever seen a farmer fertilizing his garden with a mask on his face to protect himself from the poison that emerges from toxic pesticides, you know the chemicals smothering our foods are NOT good for us, nor are they safe to eat.
Monsanto claims to be a sustainable agriculture company with plans to end world hunger and support farmers all over the world, two impressive undertakings. But beyond the seemingly pure intentions lies a plethora of deceit. If putting an end to global starvation is the primary goal, it would make much more sense to use the millions of dollars spent each year on misleading advertisement to provide the poor with resources and soil to plant their own food. The people who can not afford to eat are not abstaining from meals because food is scarce. They are not eating because they simply do not have the resources to buy the food available.
Instead of salvaging farmers’ livelihood as they allege, Monsanto is driving farmers out of business and into bankruptcy if they do not abide by Monsanto’s recent rules. Farmers, who have planted and saved seeds for thousand of years, are now being sued by Monsanto for “illegally” saving seeds that have been patented by this corporate monster. Monsanto is demanding farmers buy brand new seeds from them each year or risk being sued.
How did Monsanto gain the power they now possess? Monsanto pours millions of dollars each year into agricultural lobbying for the right to keep GMO’s legal and avoid honest food labeling. Their costly push to keep genetically modified (GM) foods a secret from the public speaks volumes and is further proof their lab-manufactured foods are not as healthy as declared by the originator. This untamed beast is manipulating the government with money to protect their lucrative, underhanded business.
Although several countries around the world, including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil have banned GMO production and require labeling on all GM crops, GMO’s can be found in a large number of imported processed foods, including potato chips, soy products, cereals, packaged confections, salad dressings and any product containing the popular ingredient, corn syrup. The majority of GE grains allowed in European countries act as animal feed, which contaminates the meat we consume, and in turn, infects anyone who eats it. Monsanto is investing several hundred million dollars to expand their seed production and development in Europe over the next 10 years, while they focus on obtaining European Union approval to import genetically modified crops grown in the United States and South America. Over 90 percent of the corn, soybeans, canola and cotton grown in the United States are patented GMO’s.
BE THE CHANGE
It is crucial that we, as a society, take a stand and educate ourselves about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it is grown. Knowledge is power and power creates change. Do your research and find out where to buy organic, locally sourced, non-GMO foods. Seek out people in your area who have done their homework and know which supermarkets/farms you can count on to deliver real food. Ask questions. If you do not get an honest, educated answer, go the extra mile and take matters into your own hands by going to the source. Boycott packaged, processed products that contain (hidden) GM ingredients. Do your part to create a GE-free zone in your town by contacting your government, municipalities and private companies with a plea for action. Plant a garden. Become your own food detective. Food, Inc. is a great educational documentary about the food industry. The time and effort spent on investigation will pay off in the long run with a future of real food and radiant health.