Richard Wolfson, PhD
Monsanto Bullies Farmers Agribusiness giant Monsanto has warned Argentina it may shut down some operations in the country if the government does not loosen restrictions on genetically engineered (GE) crops..
Monsanto Bullies Farmers
Agribusiness giant Monsanto has warned Argentina it may shut down some operations in the country if the government does not loosen restrictions on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Argentina only allows production of GE crops if they have been approved by the European Union. The government does not want to produce crops it can't sell on the international market.
Monsanto was planning to open an $8 million cotton processing plant in Argentina. However, the company is threatening not to open the plant unless Argentina approves its herbicide resistant Roundup Ready biotech cotton, which is banned in Europe.
Loblaws, Canada's largest grocery store chain, has introduced a line of genetically engineered-free food products. Under the label President's Choice Organics the company is releasing 20 to 25 organic products this year. The products are free of genetically engineered ingredients.
The Big Carrot in Toronto and Circling Dawn Organic Foods in Vancouver lead the way in Canada in removing GE food products from their shelves. The task was enormous because GE ingredients from soy (flour, oil, lecithin), corn (corn starch, oil, syrup, sweeteners) and canola oil are used in hundreds of foods. Dozens of products were removed, particularly in cookies, crackers and chips sections.
More Trouble for StarLink
Japan's Health Ministry has sent back 1,500 tonnes of corn from the USA after tests showed the shipment contained unapproved genetically engineered StarLink corn. The announcement came one day after the US agreed to test all corn exports to Japan before they were exported, to ensure they didn't contain StarLink.
Japan, the single biggest buyer of US corn, has already cut purchases sharply due to StarLink contamination.
Also in the US, Missouri attorney general Jay Nixon is requiring Aventis CropScience to issue a $25 million bond to compensate farmers and grain handlers for losses incurred through contamination with GE StarLink corn.
Aventis, the manufacturer of StarLink, is blamed for failing to properly manage the introduction of StarLink into the marketplace and inform farmers of the need to segregate it. StarLink is not approved for human consumption.
No Frankenspuds in Oregon
Oregon farmers are refusing to grow Monsanto's genetically engineered NewLeaf potatoes. Potato growers are responding to consumer pressure and large potato processors who will not take the biotech spuds.
Will Wise, president of the Oregon Potato Commission, commented on the biotech potatoes: "There is no known commercial interest in them. There may be some [potatoes] growing here and there, but I don't know of any. It's all over."
Farmers Foot the Bill
Farmers wishing to grow Monsanto's biotech crops will have a new contract to sign. Under the 2001 Technology Agreement, growers have to sign away their rights to legal recourse should the crop fail to perform.
In the past, farmers have sued Monsanto for millions of dollars when its biotech crops failed for various reasons, including inability to adapt to local conditions. The biotech giant has made sure that this option is no longer available.
Pioneer Sales Stall
Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the world's largest seed companies, has postponed North American sales of its genetically engineered corn varieties not approved in Europe. The unapproved varieties contain combinations of genes for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance.