Thursday, October 6, 2016

Toxic Food and Consolidated Corporate Power

Last month Monsanto agreed to be purchased by Bayer AG for $57 billion. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Monsanto is counting on selling its latest insect-resistant seeds to agricultural companies in North and South America to boost profits:
Jacob Bunge and Anne Steele. 2016, October 6. Monsanto Forecasts Profit Growth. The Wall Street Journal, B3. 

The new seeds are genetically modified to withstand pesticides that have been in the past proven to drift, cause harm to plants, as documented in this fact sheet posted by Ohio State University Extension:
Reducing 2,4-D and Dicamba Drift Risk to Fruits, Vegetables and Landscape Plants has an interesting article about potential health risks associated with the pesticides and herbicides to be used on the newly approved seeds:

Arthur Daniels-Midland (ADM), a huge agricultural conglomerate, has stated they won't purchase the seeds because they've not been approved in the EU:

ADM, Bunge Won't Buy Monsanto's New Genetically Modified Soy. Bloomberg. May 2 2016.

 But Monsanto says that the seeds will be approved presently. And given the consolidated power of the Bayer-Monsanto conglomerate, approval seems likely.

Consolidated power in the global agricultural industry threatens us all with dangerous pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and preservatives as regulatory capture prevents objective risk assessments for human and environmental health.

Here is an article addressing consolidation in the global agricultural-chemical industry:
Brad Plumer.Sep 15, 2016. Why Bayer's massive deal to buy Monsanto is so worrisome. Vox,

Back in 1994, the world’s four biggest seed companies controlled just 21 percent of the market. But in the years since, as crop biotechology advanced, companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, and Dupont went on a feeding frenzy, buying up smaller companies and their patents. Today, the top four seed companies and top four agrochemical firms command more than half their respective markets.

And the pressures to merge have only become even more intense. Due to an economic slowdown in China and a glut of food production over the past few years, the global agricultural economy has been slumping. Commodity prices have fallen sharply, and farmers have less to spend on supplies (as well as on pricier biotech seeds). And the major seed, chemical, and fertilizer companies haven’t been able to churn out enough innovative new products to counteract this trend.

So their only choice at this point is to consolidate further, hoping to convince shareholders that they can slash costs and keep profits high.
As always, my greatest concern is reproductive risk. If you've never seen this study by European scientists on Round-Up safety I strongly recommend you look it up:
Séralini G. E., Clair E., Mesnage R., et al. 2012. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50(11): 4221-4231.
The study looks at TRANS-GENERATIONAL effects and finds reproductive failures and sterility across generations from Round-Up ready seed in laboratory animals.

FDA and EPA testing requirements don't usually include transgenerational analysis and typically fail to address reproductive effects altogether. Read Poison Spring, written by a former EPA whistleblower for background here

More noxious pesticides/herbicides is not the solution to sustainable food nor to a sustainable humanity.


  1. Good story Majia, indeed my world view has widened to realize that we live in an increasingly toxic world. No one single toxin will hurt us badly, but the synergistic sum of them all IS hurting us badly. stock out

  2. I have wanted to do a lengthy article on "Our Toxic Environment" no time

  3. These big pharmaceutical companies and pesticide companies have been doing this for ages. New and more deadly twists now. It is scary, because of the immensity of Monsanto now. They control a lot of farming in the Midwest.
    Monsanto has been supplying organophosphates, 2,4d, arsenides, fertilizers, and many other toxic chemicals to farmers for a long time. They have controlled farm bureaus for many years. They get farmers stuck in predatory, exclisve contracts. Monsanto is very monopolistic.

    I was afraid to swim in my old swimhole in rural Indiana, when I went back in the nineties. It wreaked of pesticides.

    Monsanto has always had exclusive contacts on farmer in the Midwest on fertilizers and pesticides. They are very powerful.

    Look at what they have done with running farmers out of business, in the genetically engineered seed business. They have done it in India too. Then they buy their land and run factory farms. Terrible.

    1. Powerful summary of the problems with monopolistic agribusiness.

  4. I think the ultimate purpose is the control of the world's population by control of seeds = food supply. Anti-GE (GM) food activists in Japan have been going on this assumption since at least about 1999/2000. As with the first A-bombs on Japan in 1945, these people don't care about the mess they create as long as the goal is achieved. (However, the "ultimate goal" of the A-bomb attacks was not simply to end WWII.)

  5. BTW - the Seralini paper seems to be available at'S%C3%A9ralini+G.+E.%2C+Claire.%2C+Mesnage+R.%2C+et+al.+2012.+Long+term+toxicity+of+a+Roundup+herbicide+and+a+Rounduptolerant+genetically+modified+maize.+Food+and+Chemical+Toxicology'

    1. I know this is cliche but I think Monsanto is like a huge parasitic entity. The individuals working for them may not see themselves as such. The entity is so profit oriented it is sucking the life out of everything it uses. Probably many of its employees too. So goes monstrous international monopolies. It is the undoing of the human race and our world. Monopolistic capitalism encourages non symbiotic relationships among groups of people and of peoples perspectives in relationship to mother earth. It is our undoing.