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Why Monsanto Is So Dangerous

By James Donahue

Unless they have their heads in the sand, few Americans can say they have never heard about the Monsanto Corporation or genetically modified foods. The two things are almost synonymous since Monsanto has become the world’s top producer of GMO food products.

There has been a growing worldwide movement against Monsanto. Thousands marched in protest against the company in St. Louis on May 25. Most European countries ban the sale and use of Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds, but American farmers find themselves caught in the Monsanto trap and caught up in costly court battles if they try to break free.

Nobody wants to eat the GMO corn, soy, sugar, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, vegetable oils and all of the other products produced by Monsanto that are laced with poison weed killer, insect repellant and other chemicals believed to increase the risk of cancer, kidney and liver damage. But the products are found everywhere on the American farms and in grocery stores.

The battle this year has been to force the labeling of GMO foods so shoppers have the option of choice. In 2012 Monsanto spent millions successfully fighting California’s Proposition 37 that would have forced producers to label GMO products sold in that state.

Meanwhile, the states of Vermont and Connecticut have passed legislation requiring GMO foods to be labeled. This is a small victory for the American consumers, but an important one. Because Washington legislators and the courts appear to have caved in to corporate power, the people find themselves caught up in an uphill battle against that corporate giant.

Congress passed the Farmer Assurance Provision legislation slipped into this year’s farm bill. That amendment, the result of heavy lobbying by Monsanto, has been nicknamed the Monsanto Protection Act because it bans federal courts from blocking the sale and planting of genetically modified seeds.

President Obama, who promised to fight GMO foods when he ran for re-election to a second term, recently appointed Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist, to serve as deputy commissioner of foods.

It seems that Monsanto has bought its way into the pockets of the federal government.

Monsanto has been quietly working to monopolize important markets. For example, the company now controls 93 percent of the soybean, canola seed and cotton crops and 86 percent of the corn crops. The seeds are not only "Roundup ready" but they are hybrid "suicide seeds" that will not reproduce, thus forcing farmers to return to Monsanto and buy more seeds every year.

The Monsanto seeds do cross pollinate with non-GMO crops, and the company has successfully used this fact to bring litigation against neighboring farms that were attempting not to grow Monsanto GMO seeds. The company has successfully brought over 100 lawsuits against farmers and small farm businesses over patent infringement.

Monsanto also invented modified seeds that make a crystalline insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. This insecticide is now in Monsanto potatoes, maize, soybeans and cotton. It also is found in American milk and dairy products.

Monsanto has been doing its dirty work almost since it was founded at St. Louis, Missouri in 1901. We didn’t know the name then, but we certainly knew about the company’s deadly products.

Among its first creations was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which was sold to the Coca-Cola Company and later marketed elsewhere. Saccharin was later banned after government tests found it to be a carcinogen.

Other infamous products produced by Monsanto were PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange and Nutra Sweet.

Some activists have labeled Monsanto as "the world’s most dangerous company."