June 27th, 2011
He who controls the seed controls the food supply; and he who controls the food supply controls the world. There is no question that Monsanto is on a mission to monopolize the conventional seed market. In fact, they are steadfastly working towards the goal of creating a world where 100% of all commercial seeds are genetically modified and patented- basically a world where natural seeds are extinct.
Unfortunately for the global community Monsanto is accomplishing their purpose. They currently own 90% of the world’s patents for GMO seed including cotton, soybeans, corn, sugar beets and canola.
Yep, the creators of chemicals that will go down in history for their toxicity and horrific side effects, is attempting to take over the world’s seed supply. Ask yourself- do you really want companies such as BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Syngenta, and Dow involved with your food? Sadly, to a large extent they already are. These Monsanto chemical and GMO cronies all share genetically engineered traits and create the patented herbicides and pesticides that GMO crops require to thrive.
Monsanto is infamous for taking advantage of small farmers, and with the advent of MoU’s they are doing so with governmental license. Countries like India, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand have all executed MoU’s with Monsanto. MoU’s or memorandum’s of understanding permit Monsanto to use publicly owned lands to create so called demonstration farms (GMO breeding camps) which in turn -at least in the case of Rajasthan – are subsidized by the government.
Monsanto literally takes farmer seeds, creates genetically engineered copycat versions, and then retains all intellectual property rights. Dr. Vandana Shiva, Executive Director of the Navdanya Trust, an Indian organization committed to organic biodiversity, states that “the MoU’s will in effect, facilitate bio-piracy of Rajasthan’s rich biodiversity of draught -resilient crops …. by failing to have any clauses that respect the Biodiversity Act and the Farmers’ Rights Act, the MoU’s promote bio-piracy and legalize the great seed robbery.”
It is common knowledge that GMO seeds are much worse than conventional ones. As with all of their agreements, Monsanto shields itself from any liability- so when the Monsanto’s promises of higher yields with less work ring hollow, when farmers crops fail, or when mass suicides are committed because of crop failure and spirit crushing debt- Monsanto presses on with no worries.
Farmers that sign up for Monsanto’s seeds of destruction find themselves hooked. Year after year, no matter what prices are being charged, they are dependent on GMO seeds for new crops because GMO seeds – the bastardized versions they are – don’t regenerate.
Monsanto has no qualms about robbing farmers that don’t play poker with them. As a mater of fact; it makes a business of it. Conventional and organic farmers in both Canada and the U.S., who have the misfortune of having lands that border GMO farms, often end up with trace contamination in their crops, making them (if organic), unsuitable for sale. Monsanto actually uses this situation against farmers and files patent infringement claims that they often win.
The result farm owners are left with exorbitant legal bills and fines often forcing them to shut down: clearing away Monsanto competition. In a savvy move for survival, a preemptive suit on behalf of almost 300,000 plaintiffs seeking legal safe harbor, has been filed in New York.
Monsanto’s product has changed from poison to food, but it has held true to its history of violating the rights and health of people around the globe. Monsanto is a 100% committed to the sale of their seeds of destruction no matter what it takes: bullying, infiltration of high government offices with company friendly individuals, or intimidation. The organic movement has taken up the standard against Monsanto’s machinations in court as well as through grassroots education and activist efforts. The organic revolution is Monsanto’s Achilles heel, and its goal is a world without Monsanto.
April 4th, 2011
By: Charles Wallace
Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get much worse on the price front – how can you top $4 a gallon gasoline? – comes news the cherished summer barbecue is about to get more expensive.
Contracts for future deliveries of corn, soybeans and wheat prices surged to the most permitted by the Chicago Board of Trade in a single day. Corn was up 4.5%, soybeans were up 3.25% and wheat was up 5%. So far in the past year, corn prices have risen by 87%, soybeans have jumped 41% and wheat has climbed 54% — thanks in part to bad weather in Russia and Australia, two major wheat producers. The surge in prices on the futures exchanges was in reaction to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that stockpiles of corn measured at the beginning of March had fallen 15% from their levels a year ago.
Higher Grain Prices = Higher Meat Prices
The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of corn. It seems to be in nearly everything — cereals, sweeteners and ethanol for our cars. Corn, and to a lesser extent soybeans, are also important for feeding livestock. According to the National Corn Growers Association, about 80% of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by “domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production.” So higher prices for these commodities means that prices for beef, pork and chicken are likely to go up as well down the road.
“It looks like these reports will extend the price rally we’ve seen, not only for food commodities that are directly manufactured from corn, soybeans and wheat but also livestock products that depend on those commodities,” says Darrel L. Good, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois.
“The real test will come this summer, when we have the highest seasonal prices, particularly of pork,” he says. “It looks like those prices could be sharply higher than we have ever experienced before.”
Revising the Grocery Bill Upwards
Compounding these price pressures are not only higher commodity prices, but also surging demand from foreign countries for U.S. beef and pork products. That’s mainly a result of the improving world economy., especially in India and China.
Art Barnaby, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University, says the economic upswing is also producing higher demand for steak at home in the U.S. — as families stop eating mac and cheese and other less expensive foods. Higher demand adds up to higher prices in the long run, he says, even without higher feed prices.
Just how much have beef and pork prices headed higher? Since last summer, beef has risen 27% and pork is up 32%. ‘That’s huge; we’ve never experienced cattle prices at this level,” says Good.
Ephraim Leibtag, an economist at the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, says his department has revised upwards its grocery price forecast for the coming year. It now expects prices to rise 4% in 2011.
“If commodity prices continue to rise or even stay at these high levels,” he says, “there’s an upside risk for future increases later on in the year. It could take several months before the higher commodity prices are reflected in higher meat price.”
Good says the reason that corn inventories are down so dramatically is the 2010 crop was smaller than in previous years — and that we’re consuming corn at a much faster rate than last year.
Overseas Demand Also Surging
It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not just American consumers who are taking on the chin at the supermarket. According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, food prices surged 2.2% in February over January, with the FAO’s cereals index up 3.7% and meat up 2% in a single month.
The agency also warns the rise in oil prices could “further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets.”
This is particularly true in developing countries. It was a crisis over food price hikes that touched off a wave of demonstrations in Tunisia earlier this year — which eventually led to popular protests against governments in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.
March 14th, 2011
By: Jean Chatzky
The U.S.Department of Agriculture has confirmed what you likely already know: Food prices are on the rise. In January, the department forecast a price increase of 2.5% for 2011; last week, they upped that to between 3% and 4%.
We’re expected to see the bulk of that increase toward the second half of the year, but you — the consumers — know it’s already pretty evident: Major food manufacturers like Sara Lee (SLE) and ConAgra (CAG) are starting to increase prices on items such as frozen meals and deli meats. And other companies, like Kraft (KFT), may reduce the size of packaging to cut costs.
All this translates to a higher grocery bill for you.
What is driving these price hikes? I’m not just talking about the soaring gas prices we’ve been shaking our heads over. Beginning in July of last year, we also started to see a pretty sharp increase in corn prices, according to Darrel Good, an agricultural economist and professor at the University of Illinois.
“The price of corn has basically doubled since the end of June last year,” Good says. “There are three or four factors that are fundamental to rising prices, but first and foremost, crop problems resulted in a smaller-than-expected output.” We also saw a rapid expansion in demand due primarily to corn’s use in ethanol.
But corn’s not the only problem. There’s been an increased demand for soybeans. Meat prices, too, are headed up, because of large price increases for livestock cattle and hogs. Producers of livestock have been slowly losing money, so they’ve reduced supply. And as basic college economics taught us, when the supply is down, prices go up.
So the question is, how do you cope? I have four suggestions:
Adjust Your Budget
Darrel Good says whether prices will continue to rise depends on what happens to crop production in 2011 — if we have a favorable growing season, we can replenish some of that lost inventory. If prices do stay up, the cost of living will take a hit. If your budget is already stretched by gas prices, these price increases are going to push it even further, which means you may be faced with hard choices when it comes to discretionary spending: eating out, entertainment, new high-tech toys.
It’s time to go over your budget and see where you can cut back (cable and cell phone are always good places to start — these companies are typically negotiable). Then put a hold on major purchases to give yourself a chance to adjust.
This means making a plan — and a list — before you leave for the grocery store, so you know exactly what you’re buying. Take some time to survey your stock: Know what you have and what you need. Limit impulse purchases. It helps to make one big shopping trip each week, rather than several. That way, you only have to walk past the magazines, candy bars and exotic fruit once.
Dedicate yourself to clipping coupons (worth a valuable $1.12 apiece on average) for things you regularly buy and need, and buy things when they’re on sale, particularly non-perishables. Give store brands another look. And compare prices between stores, because you might be surprised. Wegman’s, for instance, announced earlier this year that they wouldn’t be raising prices on 40 staple products in 2011, despite rising commodity prices. Bananas, orange juice, tuna, cereal and frozen vegetables are on their list.
Compare Unit Prices
This is particularly important now that package sizes are shrinking: You need to get into the habit of looking at not only the retail price, but also the unit price. This will show you how much you’re paying per ounce, pound, quart or other measurement, so you can compare products of different sizes and see where the best deal is. Often — but not always — you’ll save by buying larger sizes, so pay attention.
Avoid Processed Foods
The further your food is from the original source — and the more it’s processed and packaged — the more you’ll pay for it as a general rule. That’s why you’ll often see price hikes in the inner aisles of the grocery store, where all the cookies, crackers, TV dinners and boxed meals live. (Corn and soy are popular ingredients in these foods, whether in the form of soybean oil, soy protein, corn syrup or maltodextrin.)
If you stick to the outer aisles — or shop at a farmer’s market come spring, where prices don’t reflect gas costs to truck food across the country — you may not be hit quite as hard.
February 25th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Joanna Zelman
Recent research claims that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically modified crops contain an organism, previously unknown to science, that can cause miscarriages in farm animals. This disturbing find comes on the heels of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA). Roundup Ready is designed to survive Roundup, Monsanto’s weed-killing chemical.
Purdue University’s Emeritus Professor Don M. Huber presented the findings of the research, which observed the new organism using a 36,000X electron microscope. According to Treehugger, the organism can cause disease in both plants and animals, a rare feat.
Huber wrote an open letter to Vilsack requesting a moratorium on deregulating Roundup Ready crops. Huber states that Roundup Ready has a high concentration of an animal pathogen connected to “plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions.” Huber finishes his letter by stating, “It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.”
A recent article in The Washington Post suggests that Roundup Ready Alfalfa is unnecessary and harmful to the farming community. When RRA is grown, reports suggest that weeds develop a resistant to Roundup. This has reportedly already happened to Roundup Ready corn, soybeans, and cottons. As The Washington Post remarks on GMOs, “You can’t recall them the way you can a car or a plastic toy. They’re out there for good. And no one knows what their full impact will be.” Although the impact of Roundup Ready Alfalfa has now become disturbingly more apparent.
December 27th, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
Agricultural crops can absorb pharmaceuticals found in the water used to irrigate them or the sewage sludge used to fertilize them, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toledo-Ohio and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
When humans consume pharmaceuticals, active traces of those drugs are excreted in their feces and urine. Modern treatment methods for water and sewage do nothing to remove these biologically active chemicals.
Previous studies have shown that crops grown directly in animal manure can absorb veterinary drugs, and that cabbages grown hydroponically can absorb human drugs. To simulate more natural agricultural conditions, researchers grew soybeans — the second most widely planted crop in the United States — in regular soil. Half the crops were fertilized with solid waste, while the other half were irrigated with chemical-spiked water. In order to simulate the reclaimed sewage or wastewater commonly used in industrial agriculture, the researchers spiked water and waste with the drugs carbamazepine (an anticonvulsant), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and fluoxetine (Prozac), along with the common antimicrobial chemicals triclosan and triclocarban.
Using mass spectrometry, the researchers then analyzed the plants’ tissues just before flowering and after the production of beans. The plants absorbed carbamazepine, triclocarban and triclosan from both soil and water, although absorption from water was greater. All three chemicals accumulated in root tissues, stems and leaves, while the antimicrobial compounds also accumulated in the beans. Diphenhydramine and fluoxetine accumulated in low concentrations in the roots.
The health effects of this absorption remain unknown, but they could be severe. Triclosan, for example, has been shown to build up in the bodies of humans and other animals.
“Triclosan disrupts hormones, can affect sexual function and fertility, and may foster birth defects,” write Frank Lipman and Mollie Doyle in their book Spent: Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Feel Great Again.
“If you find those compounds in the plant, what are they going to do to the plants or to animals that eat the plants?” researcher Chenxi Wu asked.
August 13, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
Several major reports have come out in recent years about the dangers of pharmaceutical drug residues being found in the nation’s water supplies. But a new study has shown that major American food crops like soybeans are also absorbing these chemicals, and others, from the treated wastewater that farmers are applying to them.
It is common practice for large-scale farm operations to dump billions of gallons of treated sewage and other recycled water on crops to help fertilize them. But this semi-treated water still contains chemical components from drugs, creams, lotions, shampoos and other consumer products, all of which end up in the soil.
A research team from the University of Toledo in Ohio decided to test whether or not major U.S. food crops were capable of absorbing these chemicals in real-life agricultural conditions, so they performed an experiment on soybeans, the second most-widely grown crop in the U.S.
After giving the plants water tainted with three pharmaceutical components and two antimicrobial compounds from personal care products, the team observed that one of the pharmaceutical drugs and both antimicrobial compounds concentrated heavily in the plants’ roots, eventually making their way into the stems and leaves. The other two chemicals absorbed somewhat, but not as much as the others.
“The first thing you have to consider with human exposure [to chemicals] through agriculture is whether it’s even possible,” explained Chad Kinney, an environmental chemist from Colorado State University in Pueblo. “That’s what was answered by this study.”
According to Chenxi Wu, the study lead, these chemicals could “accumulate through the food chain, and eventually end up in human consumers.”
February 9, 2010
By Bob Cesca
When we consider the rogue’s gallery of devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporations, we generally come up with outfits like Microsoft, Bechtel, AIG, Halliburton, Goldman-Sachs, Exxon-Mobil and the United States Senate. Yet somehow, Monsanto, arguably the most devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporation in the world has been able to more or less skulk between the raindrops — only a household name in households where documentaries like Food Inc. are regarded as light Friday evening entertainment. My house, for example. But for the most part, if you were to ask an average American for their list of sinister corporations, Monsanto probably wouldn’t make the cut.
Founded by Missouri pharmacist John Francis Queeny in 1901, Monsanto is literally everywhere. Just about every non-organic food product available to consumers has some sort of connection with Monsanto.
Anyone who can read a label knows that corn, soy and cotton can be found in just about every American food product. Upwards of 90% of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These genetically enhanced products appear in around 70% of all American processed food products. And Monsanto controls 90% of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto controls — and owns patents on — most of the American food supply.
When you consider, as Walletpop originally reported, that one-in-four food labels is inaccurate, that the F.D.A.’s testing is weak at best, then how can we trust one corporation to have so much control over our produce? The answer is, we can’t.
Recently, a study by the International Journal of Biological Sciences revealed that Monsanto’s Mon 863, Mon 810, and Roundup herbicide-absorbing NK 603 in corn caused kidney and liver damage in laboratory rats. Scientists also discovered damage to the heart, spleen, adrenal glands and even the blood of rats that consumed the mutant corn. A “state of hepatorenal toxicity” the study concluded.
This hasn’t slowed down Monsanto’s profit machine. In 2008, Monsanto cleared over $2 billion in net profits on $11 billion in revenues. And its 2009 is looking equally as excellent.
November 10, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
Until early 2009, Silk brand soy milk was made using organic soybeans. But earlier this year, Dean Foods (owner of the Silk brand) quietly switched to conventional soybeans, which are often grown with pesticides. But they kept the same UPC barcodes on their products, and they kept the product label virtually the same, only replacing the word “organic” with “natural” in a way that was barely noticeable. They also kept the price the same, charging consumers “organic” prices for a product that was now suddenly made with conventionally-grown soybeans.
Many retailers and consumers never noticed the bait-and-switch tactic, so they kept buying Silk, thinking it was still organic. The shift on the product label from “organic” to “natural” wasn’t well understood by consumers, either. Many consumers continue to think that the term “natural” is basically the same as “organic,” when in fact they are almost opposites. The term “natural” is entirely unregulated, and almost anything can be claimed to be “natural” even when it’s sprayed with pesticides or treated with other chemicals.
This bait-and-switch ploy continued throughout 2009 until a few watchdog organizations started to catch on to the covert switch. In late October, the Cornucopia Institute (www.Cornucopia.org) accused Target stores of misleading consumers by advertising Silk products using the old “organic” labeling even though the product being sold in stores was not organic. Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel accused Target and Dean Foods for “blurring the line between organic and natural,” thereby confusing consumers while boosting profits from the more lucrative sales of non-organic products sold at organic prices.
Meanwhile, a Sunflower health food store in Texas also found itself caught up in the bait-and-switch tactic. It had been reordering Silk for months, thinking the product was still organic. But now, after discovering the scam, the store posts a hand-written sign in front of the Silk products, warning consumers with this message: “Silk is no longer organic.”
“We don’t want to be part of customer deception,” said the store owner in a Star-Telegram interview.
According to that same story, food retailers in California, Delaware and Texas were also duped by Silk’s bait-and-switch scheme, only discovering the switch to conventional soybeans months after the switch was covertly made. Dean Foods, you see, never bothered to tell retailers they had switched from organic to conventionally-grown soybeans. They just quietly made the switch but kept the same box design and UPC codes, perhaps hoping no one would notice. And the ploy worked!
“Dean has only added to the marketplace confusion between ‘natural’ and ‘organic,’ as they definitely do not mean the same thing, and ‘natural’ requires no verification whatsoever,” said Consumer Reports senior scientist Urvashi Rangan (see Star-Telegram article link below).
Dean Foods is one of the big food giants that serves processed, factory-made foods and beverages to the American people. It’s the parent company of Horizon Organic, the so-called “organic” milk maker that’s been caught up in a web of deception exposed by the Organic Consumers Association.
The company has pushed hard to lower organic standards so that it could market products as “organic” even though they might contain questionable ingredients. When Dean Foods bought out WhiteWave, the creator of Silk soy milk, WhiteWave founder Steve Demos soon left the company in disgust, saying that “green” values had been abandoned for the sake of profit.
Dean Foods even refused to participate on a “soy scorecard” investigation undertaken by the Cornucopia Institute. The last thing this company wants is scrutiny of its business practices, it seems. For example, in 2002, Dean Foods cut off U.S. soybean farmers and switched to soybeans grown in China. And for years, the company has waged attacks on the Cornucopia Institute itself.
In my opinion, Dean Foods is the Enron of the food industry. It has no ethics, no moral code and no hesitation about deceiving consumers or hurting American farmers in order to maximize profits.
In America today, the big food companies are all about disinforming consumers. Rather than telling the truth on product labeling, they seek to confuse consumers with misleading information. That’s why they want to weaken the definition of “organic” — so that they can essentially grow conventional foods with pesticides, then misleadingly position them as “near-organic” products that are sold at organic prices.
Consumers end up buying products they think are organic but really aren’t. And because the products are misleadingly positioned as “organic” products, they command a higher price. This, in turn, generates more profits for the food companies.
Lying about being organic pays well in the food industry today. Perhaps that’s why so many companies continue to do it.
September 18th, 2009
By Jack Kaskey
Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed maker, plans to charge as much as 42 percent more for new genetically modified seeds next year than older offerings because they increase farmers’ output.
Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans will cost farmers an average of $74 an acre in 2010, and original Roundup Ready soybeans will cost $52 an acre, St. Louis-based Monsanto said today in presentations on its Web site. SmartStax corn seeds, developed with Dow Chemical Co., will cost $130 an acre, 17 percent more than the YieldGard triple-stack seeds they will replace.
“Our pricing has the flexibility built in to ensure the grower captures the greatest return from his seed investment, irrespective of market volatility,” Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grantsaid today in a statement.
Grant is introducing new modified seeds that boost yields as part of a plan to double gross profit from 2007 to 2012. The new soybeans, which resist Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, produce 7.4 percent more soybeans per acre than the older version. SmartStax kills insects in multiple ways, reducing the amount of conventional corn that must be planted to deter insecticide resistance.
“SmartStax pricing is higher than we initially expected,” Vincent Andrews, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, said today in a report.
Monsanto rose $1.57, or 1.9 percent, to $84.03 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 19 percent this year.
SmartStax corn seed will be planted on as many as 4 million acres in 2010, its first year on the market, with a potential for as many as 65 million acres in the U.S. eventually, the company said. The new seed boosts yields 5 percent to 10 percent compared with other products, partly by reducing the amount of land that must be planted with conventional corn to 5 percent from 20 percent, Monsanto said.
Pricing for SmartStax is at the high end of expectations, Laurence Alexander, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies & Co., said by telephone.
Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean seeds were planted on 1.5 million acres this year and will be planted on as many as 8 million acres next year in the U.S. with a potential to one day reach 55 million acres, Monsanto said.
The company is pricing its seeds to share the benefit of increased yields with farmers, saidMark Gulley, a New York- based analyst at Soleil Securities. Prices include seed treatments designed to protect seedlings from pests and disease, Monsanto said.
“They are in essence splitting the value of the extra yield 50-50,” Gulley said by telephone.
Monsanto repeated its forecast for earnings in the fiscal year that ends this month at the low end of a range of $4.40 to $4.50 a share. The average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of $4.41 a share.