The World According to Monsanto
by Marie-Monique Robin
Available in segments on YouTube.com
Monsanto’s motto is “to help farmers around the world be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber, while also reducing agriculture’s impact on our environment.” As this video begins, one farmer in Iowa seems grateful for Monsanto’s help. He was growing Roundup Ready soybeans. He only needed two applications of Roundup to kill all the weeds for a year, greatly reducing the labor needed. After less than eight years of experience he was calling the system “sustainable.”
The viewer is then taken on a trip around the world to listen to farmers, experts and others who don’t seem quite so grateful, such as the residents in Anniston, Alabama, which was made almost uninhabitable by PCBs courtesy of Monsanto. Farmers in the Midwest talked about how hired goons from Monsanto intimidate and destroy livelihoods with false accusations of reusing patented seeds. Small farmers in India have been driven to rioting and suicide due to poor cotton crop yields from Monsanto’s Bt cotton.
Farmers in the heart of Mexico have carefully preserved their own corn seed from one year to the next. They never buy seed but use their own heirloom seed. They didn’t look too grateful when they found transgenic contamination in their crops. Neither did South American farmers.
Interviews of certain government officials were particularly intriguing. According to James Maryanski, the decision to regulate GMO food the same as other food was a political decision, not a scientific one. Maryanski was head of the biotech division of the FDA at the time the decisions were made. When asked how the FDA knew that GM soybeans, for example, were safe, his answer was, “It’s based on all the data that the company [Monsanto] provided to FDA, that was reviewed by FDA scientists. And so it’s not in the company’s interest to try to design a study in some way that would mask results.”
Monsanto has been found legally guilty of false advertising in two separate countries. Mr. Maryanski is quite the trusting soul, bless his heart. When trying to explain the principle of substantial equivalence he said, “What FDA was saying was if you introduce a gene into a plant, that gene is DNA and we’ve consumed DNA. We have a long history of consuming DNA. We can establish that that is GRAS [Generally Recognized as Safe].”
Despite the FDA’s assurances that anything with DNA is safe, I don’t plan to put that to the test with hemlock anytime soon. This thumbs up video is jammed with two hours of disturbing information, interviews with interesting people like Jeffrey Smith ( author of Seeds of Deception), and a pretty good guess as to what Monsanto’s real goal is.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2008.