Monsanto, Genetic Engineering and Food

If genetically modified (GM) foods and genetically engineered (GE) agricultural products are as “safe” as manufacturers Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences claim, why go to such great lengths to block efforts to label them?

Why have these chemical companies — along with DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, Pepsi, Nestle and Coca-Cola — spent nearly $33 million to block passage of Propo­sition 37, the California Right to Know ­Genetically Engineered Food Act? Mon­santo has declared that crushing this ballot initiative is its “single highest priority.”­Over 50 countries, including China, Russia, Australia, France and Spain, all require GM organisms to be labeled. Efforts to pass labeling laws in 19 U.S. states have all been blocked by the pesticide companies.PART 1From super seeds to super weedsThe increased use of Roundup Ready seeds has led to a 20-fold increase in the use of Monsanto herbicides. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 1994, farmers applied 4.9 million pounds of glyphosate on soybean crops. By 2006 (last available data), they used 96.7 million pounds. (Mother Jones, July 18)Planting GMO seeds hasn’t always produced the crop yields promised by Monsanto, but farmers are increasingly “harvesting” something they never planned for — super weeds!PART 2