After asking a class of college kids whether they had heard of Monsanto and none of them had, I asked the same question on the PHP Facebook page and many do know about Monsanto. But, there seems to be a generation gap on this. Many had heard about Monsanto years or decades ago.
Like these three FB comments --
"DDT and Agent Orange in the 60's. Monsanto is a poison dealer."
"From early childhood. Monsanto had a chemical plant in our town. My father was a Chemical Engineer for Union Carbide and made, among other things, MIC the stuff that was being made in Bhopal."
And (sarcasm alert) -- "back in the 70's for dirty dealing and toxic pollution ....great company !!!!"
But not all were elders...
"Years. But in 90's heard more about ADM - and late 90's early 00's when "supermarket to the world" was sponsoring NPR, it was shocking. Well, not shocking... (for the record, I'm a Gen Xer)"
And one commented that it would be "worth doing research into the issue."
Indeed. Some articles on Monsanto have just come my way today, and below those are several earlier posts on Monsanto - in case you missed those. To be clear here, the Presbyterian Church USA has nothing against the company. On the other hand, we do have clear policy supporting family farmers and sustainable farming approaches, but your reading of the following may raise questions about whether Monsanto is always considering these. It's a hodge-podge, but hopefully something for everyone.
If you don't read the rest, here are some morsels from the GRIST article below that address some of the myths surrounding GMOs:
"...Monsanto finally admitted recently that superbugs, or pests that have evolved to be able to eat the Bt crops, are a real and growing concern."
"Not only do genetically engineered crops have worse yields than conventionally bred crops, cost more, lead to pesticide resistance, contaminate other plants with their transgenes, possibly cause allergies and even organ damage, but now we also learn that the plants themselves are possibly poisonous to the environment"
"These kinds of genetically engineered seeds keep being touted as the only way we're going to feed the world. Isn't it about time we started investing in less toxic alternatives?"
Gizmag – September 29, 2010
A new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water.
Transgenic crops’ built-in pesticide found to be contaminating waterways
Grist – September 29, 2010
Bt gets into streams and rivers by leaching out of crop debris left on fields through the now-ubiquitous industrial "no-till" farming technique, in which fields aren't plowed after harvest so as to prevent soil erosion. As a result, leaves and stalks get washed into streams through large-scale farms' irrigation canals: the Notre Dame scientists found such debris in almost 90 percent of streams near cornfields. And while the Bt levels detected weren't shockingly high, the tests were performed six months after harvest. The debris had been sitting in the streams and leaching Bt pesticide into the water for quite a while.
Whole Foods calls for better labeling of GMOs
Food-Navigator – October 5, 2010
About 580 natural food stores have said they will take part in Non-GMO Month this month. Nearly 900 products have qualified so far to carry the Non-GMO Project seal, which uses a verification program combining on-site audits, genetic testing of ingredients and a document-based review to confirm that foods do not contain GM ingredients.
Obama taps food-industry exec for top ag-research post
Grist – October 1, 2010
The long-simmering debate about Obama's ag policy -- whether it represents a new paradigm, agribusiness as usual, or some enigmatic combination -- has a new data point to consider... At a time when U.S. farms desperately need to move toward more sustainable methods, federally supported agriculture research has fallen into the hands of a Monsanto man answering to a junk-food exec... In a phone interview this week, Kirschenmann told me... "We cowrote the paper, and Woteki expressed support for the idea," he said. But then, suddenly, she withdrew her support. "She even told us she preferred not to use the word 'ecology,' because it made people uncomfortable."
P.S. (10/11/10) I just received this from Rev. Thomas John in India on Monsanto:
Monsanto against mandatory labelling of GMO products by M.R. Subramani