The World According to MonsantoAgriculture & Food, Being Human, Crime & Security, Science & Technology, Society, Sustainability, Systems thinking
I’ve just been watching ‘The World According to Monsanto’. It’s pretty compelling stuff. As one of the contributors says,
“Seed is more powerful than bombs, more powerful than guns”
and given that, you’d have thought that we’d be a little more careful about what we do it.
70% of the food in the USA contains bio-engineered ingredients. They are not allowed by law to label if a product contains GM ingredients.
Monsanto has repeatedly falsified studies, bribed, and spread misinformation, sometimes even allowing their agents to masquerade as scientists to run a smear campaign against those scientists who contest their studies.
This is simply bad science.
I’m not anti-GM crops, but I do think that progressing at such speed, with such scant and ambiguous positive evidence, is dangerous folly. This is, after all, the whole world’s food supply we’re talking about.
In fact this whole documentary is basically about bad science: tailoring interpretations to achieve economic ends. It’s worth having a watch. It’s even conveniently divided up into bite-sized 10 minute chunks.
Summary of arguments against GM crops:
- Don’t do what they say
- Tested to only very low standards, riding on a ‘substantial equivalence’ test (NB this similar to how Thalidomide occured)
- Can not be contained and can thus undermine the genes of related and non-related organisms.
- Create dependency on chemical companies
- Take from the soil without putting back
- Reduce biodiversity and encourage monoculture
- Contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance
- Genes can mutate with harmful effect
- “Sleeper” genes could be accidentally switched on and active genes could become “silent”
- They impact on birds, insects and soil biota
- Transfer of allergenic genes, triggering reactions in humans and animals
- Mixing of GM products in the food chain
- Transfer of antibiotic resistance
- Loss of farmers’ access to plant material since keeping seeds it not permitted both by legal terms, and terminator and / or traitor genes
- Intellectual property rights could slow research
Sources: ‘The World According to Monsanto’ Online For Free. | The Good Human and http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/focus/2003/gmo8.htm