March 22, 2014
As we troll internet forums across Mexico, interesting topics pop up. Apparently, there is a documentary film making the rounds reporting Monsanto’s adventures in GMO agricultural products and Monsanto’s abusive practices of suing neighboring farmers when Monsanto’s GMO products jump to neighbors fields and enter our food supplies.
As a scientist, I am left wondering if Monsanto’s 3 decades of promises are valid or hollow**.
Before diving into the science and data, there’s also an interesting loose-end about Mexico supposedly banning GMO corn in Oct. 2013. The claim of a ban is not broadly true.
Note: Hawaii legally banned GMO corn in 2013, and France just banned Monsanto corn on March 15, 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html and http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/15/france-monsanto-idUSL6N0MC0BR20140315
Mexico? Internet searches report country-wide “bans” that: “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings”.
Unfortunate reality: There is no ban of GMO corn in Mexico. There was a fairly narrow judicial ruling by Amparo (similar to a Temporary Restraining Order), issued by a single judge, ordering only the temporary suspension of planting GMO corn in Mexico, to allow a group of other lawsuits to make their way through the Mexican judicial system.
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Back to our regularly scheduled program:
In gringo internet discussions, some people are still believing that GMO corn and GMO products work.
Does Monsanto’s GMO corn deliver on Monsanto’s broad promises?
**Decades of reliable evidence says each and all of Monsanto’s GMO promises are false:
Reality: “In the 20 years since GMO crops first came on the market, studies have found that they have led to higher pesticide use, and no meaningful improvement in flavor, nutrition, yield or water requirements. Instead, what they’ve created are plants that are engineered to withstand massive dosing of toxic herbicides, and plants that function as living pesticide factories. Monsanto’s Bt. corn, for example, is actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide. “
Why report this? It explains why governments are finally recognizing the real risks of GMOs, and it supports governments rejections of Monsanto’s decades of inflated false promises.
GMO corn does not use less water. GMO corn does not give higher yields. Other than GMO corn’s pesticide properties and its resistance to Monsanto herbicides, GMO corn (like Monsanto’s GMO cotton et al) does not ultimately provide any of the promised benefits.
Ironically, even Monsanto’s top promise of lower herbicide usage is false. In response to Bt Corn and other GMOs: Nature has simply created “super-weeds” that require far higher amounts of herbicide spraying – leading to the highest levels ever seen of herbicide contamination in US and India’s rivers due to over-spraying required by GMO corn and GMO cotton.
Conclusion: Since there is no long-term Mexican ban on GMO corn, there is still risk that Monsanto’s $$ payoffs to politicians can overturn the judges temporary amparo, resurrecting the risks of GMO corn to Mexican farms, farmers, and Mexican corn.
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© Steven M. Fry
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