The Ugly Truth About Monsanto and Genetic Engineering

Posted: May 12, 2015 in Going Noncorporate, Sustainability
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

GMO-OMG

Jeremy Seifert (2013)

Film Review

GMO-OMG is an excellent first documentary by a young father on a quest to understand the science of GMO technology and its impact on the environment and human health. The film starts by focusing on the general ignorance of the American public about GMOs. This contrasts markedly with other countries, where popular pressure has led many governments to ban GMOs.

What filmmaker Jeremy Seifert describes, in essence, is the systematic hijacking and poisoning of the US food supply by three companies (DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta), all without the knowledge of the American people. At present 85% of all corn grown in the US is genetically modified, 91% of all soy and 90% of all beet sugar. In addition, most non-organic meat and dairy products come from animals fed on GMO corn and/or soy.

Seifert first learned about the potential dangers of GMOs due to a major anti-GMO protest in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Monsanto’s response to the earthquake was to donate 470 tons of GMO seeds, which protestors burned because of the threat they posed to their seed stock and food sovereignty.

The film highlights four broad areas:
• The powerful Monsanto lobby that engineered FDA approval of GMO seeds in the 1990s without totally inadequate scientific evidence of their safety.
• Recent research into the negative health impacts of GMOs.
• False claims by Monsanto and GMO seed merchants and farmers that GMO technology, which they erroneously claim increases yields, is the only answer to global hunger.
• Monsanto’s determination to stymie consumer choice by blocking GMO labeling laws.

Revolving Door Regulation

As Seifert ably demonstrates, the FDA is a typical “revolving door” agency. in which FDA chief Michael Taylor has alternatively worked for the FDA and Monsanto over many years. In this regulatory environment, where corporations practically regulate themselves, the FDA approved GMO seeds as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe), despite the absence of a single, longitudinal study demonstrating their safety in humans. None of the Monsanto studies submitted for FDA approval were peer reviewed* or longer than three months. It so happens Monsanto’s studies can’t be peer reviewed because the company refuses to release the raw data. In the research described below, rats fed Roundup Ready Corn only developed health problems after month four.

Health Problems in Rats Fed Roundup Ready Corn

In a recently published two year study by French researcher Dr Giles-Eric Seralini, rats fed a steady diet of Roundup Ready** corn developed many more mammary tumors than control rats. This was in addition to kidney, liver and pituitary damage. It remains unclear, however, whether these health effects related to the GMO corn itself or from traces of Roundup in the feed from heavy herbicide spraying. More recent studies have shown that Roundup (aka or glyphosate) causes serious health problems on its own (cancer, kidney damage and reduced sperm counts).

Organic Farming Produces Better Yields

Seifert interviews several organic farmers in the film, who debunk Monsanto claims that GMO crops increase yields. The farmers refer to thirty years of data showing that organic crops consistently outperform GMO crops, particularly during droughts and floods. On average, organic methods produce a 30% better yield. In part, the poor performance of GMO crops relates to the creation of superweeds that can’t be killed by Roundup or any other herbicide.

Monsanto Spends Hundreds of Millions Blocking GMO Labeling Laws

Seifert also interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich (before he lost his seat in 2012) about his GMO labeling bill. Since 1997, the EU has required all foods (except meat and dairy) to be labeled for GMO ingredients. Because European consumers refuse to buy products containing GMOS, Monsanto aggressively opposes GMO labeling in the US. Seifert also discusses the GMO labeling laws passed in Vermont*** and Connecticut, which were subsequently repealed after Monsanto threatened to sue both states. He also talks about the hundreds of millions Monsanto has spent in around twenty other states to block anti-GMO legislation in 32 other states.


*Scholarly peer review is the process of subjecting an author’s scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field.

**Roundup Ready corn is a plant which has had its DNA modified to withstand the weedkiller Roundup. This allows a farmer to kill weeds by spraying massive amounts of Roundup on his fields without killing the corn.

***Vermont enacted a new GMO labeling law in May 2014. As threatened, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other trade associations have filed suit to block the law. A federal judge has already denied their request for an injunction to block the law’s implementation: see Vermont GMO Labeling Injunction Appeal

Comments
  1. agent provocateur says:

    Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.

  2. gerald campeau says:

    The history of Monsanto is truely a OMG or son of bitch
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

  3. […] The Ugly Truth About Monsanto and Genetic Engineering | The Most Revolutionary Act. […]

  4. sojourner says:

    Zen Gardner, a site I visit quite often, also posted this video.

    It appears that at least some of us (Mericans) are awakening to this truth:

    http://www.zengardner.com/chipotle-bans-gmos-media-goes-full-propaganda-damage-control/

    The problem is for the vast majority of Mericans, non-GMO foods cost much more to buy than the GMO foods. And the small grocer and vegatble/fruit-stand owner has all but disappeared in Merica! We have many people who have to buy these tainted foods in order to feed themselves and their families. And I am one of them. I just feel bad for the parents and their children!

    It’s ultimately all about depopulation (Agenda 21), in my opinion: feed the people you want to get rid of tainted foods and poisoned water, while they breathe poisoned air, and are injected with ineffective and toxic vaccines, and you are well on your way to fulfilling “Commandment #1” of The Georgia Guidestones!

    I just wish more companies like Chipotle would take the same course of action, especially those companies (grocery companies) who supply us with our food. But I doubt it will ever happen, unless we the people do something about it!

    Thanks for spreading the word!

    • I’m really surprised that you don’t have a farmers market where you live – as this movement is growing exponentially, even in the US. There are more than 8,000 listed at the USDA website: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

      The other option is to join a local CSA and have fresh organic food delivered to your door. This movement is also growing by leaps and bounds: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml

      Farmers market and CSA food is usually cheaper than corporate supermarket food because you don’t have to pay a middle man. The other advantage is that it’s grown locally. The supermarket foods that are labeled organic are usually shipped over long distances and have lost their favor. Plus they may not be organic, despite the label.

      • sojourner says:

        I’ll check these out. Thanks! There is a farmer’s market downtown, but it panders more to the upper middle-class. And I have difficulties walking great distances, and downtown, there is always a ways to walk after parking.

        But I’ll check these out, and maybe I can improve my lot a bit! Thanks again!

      • sojourner says:

        I checked on the CSA site. What a wonderful invention! I am not able to partake at the moment, because even a half-share is more than I can afford. But when I can, I am going to join and even know what farm I want to be a part of.

        I also found out that the local farmer’s markets now accept food stamps. So I will be visiting the one closest to me soon.

        Thank you so much for awakening me to the CSA, Dr B!

  5. “GMO-OMG is an excellent first documentary by a young father on a quest to understand the science of GMO technology and its impact on the environment and human health. The film starts by focusing on the general ignorance of the American public about GMOs. This contrasts markedly with other countries, where popular pressure has led many governments to ban GMOs.”

    Bravo to Jeremy Seifert for making this powerful film. And God bless Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini for showing the world the real dangers of GMOs and Roundup. Americans need to watch this film, share it with their family and friends, then demand of their elected representatives to take a very serious look at this issue and appropriate moral action. GMOs and genetic manipulation of life forms are an ongoing tragedy of historic magnitude which if not addressed will only grow larger.

  6. Gator Woman says:

    Monsanto must fail, if we are to survive.

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