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Monsanto Double-Speak: The Arguments For And Against Labeling

April 10, 2009

The following is an opinion and call to action by me.

These past couple days I been having a time “tweeting” it out with Monsanto PR people on Twitter.  Monsanto, if you don’t know, is the maker of a variety of agricultural chemicals, enhancements and biotech products including bovine growth hormone products and genetically modified seeds.  I, on the other hand, if you don’t know, am aligned with organic agriculture, the rights of farmers to produce and save their own seeds, the ban of all agricultural chemicals and the rights of consumers to know exactly what is in their food, where it came from and how it was produced.

Today, in the span of just a couple of hours I came across a couple of items on the internet that demonstrate the illogical double-speak that Monsanto tries to get away with (and sometimes succeeds) in pulling the proverbial wool over people’s eyes.  Both items concern food labeling.

The first item is about a Bill that apparently recently passed through the Kansas State Government.  You can read an article about it here. (Also check out Jeffrey Smith’s Huffington Post article here, with request to email Governor Sebelius of Kansas).Essentially what the Bill states, (and I suspect that it might violate Federal FDA regulations) is that Milk producers that do not use Bovine Growth Hormone cannot label their milk as being free from it without adding a disclaimer stating that there is “no significant difference“.  This effectively makes it impossible for uninformed consumers to be able to identify the risks involved in purchasing milk that comes from cows injected with bovine growth hormone or not.  It is a serious safety concern given that one study has linked Bovine Growth Hormone with increased risk of breast and gastrointestinal cancer (search “rBGH and cancer” in the National Library of Medicine Database at www.pubmed.gov).  Basically what this law amounts to is a loss of freedom of speech for producers to be able to label their own products simply and accurately as “bovine growth hormone free” without an enforced disclaimer.  A better disclaimer would be on the milk products produced with rBGH similar to those found on tobacco products stating that it may increase risk in some cancers!  This reverse labeling tactic basically amounts to corporate tyranny from Monsanto.  I am sure that if enough people complain, especially, the farmers who refuse to use Bovine Growth Hormone, that the Supreme Court of the United States would over-turn this action by the Kansas State Government.  Someone help them please.

The second item, appears on their website and blog and concerns their argument for not labeling genetically modified (GM) products.  The reasoning that Monsanto gives for producers not being recquired to label GM products is that the FDA has determined that there is no difference between GM and non GM crops.  Okay, there are two points about this that don’t make sense:

1.  If GM products are no different than non-GM products then why even bother to produce them?  I am sure the argument on Monsanto’s side would lead to the fact that those GM products are RoundUp resistent and therefore, with the use of RoundUp they help farmers. But then, my question is simple: why would anyone want to add chemicals to the soil and create more pollution when organic agriculture is proven to be viable?  Not even the First Lady, Michelle Obama, uses chemicals in her organic garden at the White House.  The answer to this, of course, is money and profits which is and always will be Monsanto’s underlying motivation.

2. The second point is hypothetical.  Let’s suppose GM crops are actually BETTER THAN their non-GM counterparts.  Do you think Monsanto would push for GM labeling?  You bet!  Think about it for a moment!  That they ARE NOT pushing for GM labeling and only settling for “no-difference” status is actually a cause for REAL concern!  That means the GM products really are, as they are suggesting “no different”, OR they are worse and are trying to hide this fact.   But most certainly, they are NOT AT ALL BETTER, which takes us back to the first point.

Now, of course, they could retort back that  their position is not whether the product is better or not, but is about the “mandatory” aspect of labeling; that they feel labeling should not be mandatory.  Well, all you have to do is go back to the beginning of this post and read the paragraph concerning the loss of freedom in labeling for milk producers who don’t use Bovine Growth Hormone.

Welcome to Monsanto Double-Speak.

I hope that there are people out there reading this including consumer and farmer protection lawyers who are outraged enough to do something about this.

See related post: “Life Belongs To God, Not Monsanto”

See also:  29 Groups Urge Kansas Gov. Sebelius to Veto Bill on RBGH Milk Labeling

Stay informed: Millions Against Monsanto – Organic Consumers Association

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2009 3:01 pm

    Great post! Glad you are helping to spread the word about the GMO labelling issue. It is an outrage that the truth is being denied to consumers. Some corporations prefer uneducated consumers, I guess. Well, this consumer has decided to spend my money with farmers that will be truthful with me.

    That is what I recommend everyone do. Find a local farmer through websites like localharvest.org or eatwild.com. Or, join Weston A. Price Foundation and contact your local chapter leader who can give you a list of farmers who want to tell the truth to their customers!

    Kimberly

  2. April 10, 2009 6:09 pm

    Great piece, and I will retweet!

    Since Local Harvest has nearly 20K farms, restaurants, groceries, co-ops, CSA’s, etcetera, they are ALWAYS your best bet for finding local food. Plug in your zip code, find a farm: it’s that simple.

    Plus they are going to be partnering with us on the Grow a Farmer Campaign (http://www.growafarmer.org)

    Please take a look at the Grow a Farmer website: it’s the biggest project of my life, and a complete thrill and honor to be participating in it.

    Tana Butler
    Secretary, Board of Directors
    Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden

  3. Darling permalink
    March 30, 2011 8:25 pm

    Very valid points!

  4. February 1, 2013 11:56 pm

    Love your simplicity my friend. Keeping it simple. So simple, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be against anything you say.
    Keep it up.

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