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fwiw if seeds are sterile, they're not exactly going to cross-pollinate by definition

The only possibility would be test plots or fields grown for seed were within range of normal plots, and that's still pretty unlikely. Then again, Monsanto is aggressive enough they might try to sue you for sterilizing your field, lol.

I still think terminator traits are dumb, but... I dunno, I'm not going to post about it while at work since I work for a M0nsanto c0mpetitor.

w/no hesitation (mh), Monday, 31 January 2011 21:34 (six years ago) Permalink

For what its worth, Monsanto floated the idea of terminator seeds and then rapidly backed down after the public uproar. In a number of big markets (India, Brazil) they're outlawed.

Generally, I prefer organic (particularly on foods like berries and bell-peppers that are very liberally doused with pesticides). But I find some GMOs fine. I don't have much of a problem with adding genes for better nutrition, drought resistance or glyphosate (Roundup's generic name) tolerance, the latter just an enzyme and like all the others it gets digested. Other, more persistent herbicides were (and remain) way more damaging. I am wary of the Bt toxin gene. Organic vegetables are often dusted with Bacillus thuringiensis, but at least you have the option of washing off their Bt toxin before it does things like:

Once activated, the endotoxin binds to the gut epithelium and causes cell lysis by the formation of cation-selective channels, which leads to death. (to insects)

-So, I'm a bit ambivalent on the technology. Where it reduces the use of persistent organic pollutants its potentially a good thing, especially in the developing world.
-Consumers definitely have the right to be informed. Give the GMO plants brand names (rather than Agrisure 3000GT quad stack etc.) and label the corn cobs or potatos as fruit presently are.
-Where I have a huge, huge problem with Monsanto (and to a lesser extent, Syngenta and Dow) is their monopolistic dominance of seed distribution through buyouts in nations with poorly enforced anti-trust law, and intimidation of farmers who choose traditional practices like seed-cleaning and saving. This is especially a problem in developing nations. There are a lot of local NGO's doing great work opposing Monsanto overreach and supporting seed-saving (an endangered practice in the U.S.).

great disorder under heaven: the situation is excellent (Sanpaku), Monday, 31 January 2011 21:42 (six years ago) Permalink

Thanks for your take on that Sanpaku. I was unfairly rude to u on the oil spill thread (i.e. apologies) but I agree w/most of yr perspective on this... especially the critical seed-saving aspect. I live in an activist bubble but from my skewed POV ppl have been ragging on Monsanto nonstop for the last ten years.

The only possibility would be test plots or fields grown for seed were within range of normal plots, and that's still pretty unlikely.

This has happened a lot, actually - in one case Monsanto sued the farmer whose crops were contaminated for "stealing" their patented genetics.

Thanks for starting this thread Milton!

sleeve, Monday, 31 January 2011 21:59 (six years ago) Permalink

the awl had a great (and extremely depressing) article recently that touched on monsanto's presence in haiti after the earthquake:

based god fillets with olive oil, cook for an additional 6 minutes (donna rouge), Monday, 31 January 2011 22:11 (six years ago) Permalink

we're all gonna die

bamcquern, Monday, 31 January 2011 22:24 (six years ago) Permalink

pretty much

sleeve, Monday, 31 January 2011 22:25 (six years ago) Permalink

fwiw if seeds are sterile, they're not exactly going to cross-pollinate by definition

But the POLLEN is what cross-pollinates, ie sterile crops cross-pollinate with non-Monsanto crops, turning them into sterile Monsanto crops, which are then legally owned by Monsanto, even though the farmer never planted Monsanto crops

the most cuddlesome bug that ever was borned (James Morrison), Monday, 31 January 2011 22:56 (six years ago) Permalink

once these things are deregulated, bees & wind will carry them. & Monsanto is already legendary for suing farmers who've never purchased Monsanto seeds for growing their own saved seeds that had become contaminated by their patented, genetically modified seeds. they have patented a food variant that kills off the non-patented version of itself.

glad to hear a word from Sanpaku or anywhere that they've backed down from Terminator seeds - I've been searching for evidence that it was or was not in these seeds, and couldn't find anything either way. that was one of those examples of corporate greed trumping human welfare that was almost beyond imagination.

There's an online pdf paper called 'What Is Wrong with Round Up Ready Alfalfa' that makes a good point: countryside weed variants of Alfalfa that are pesticide resistant are likely to spread everywhere.

Milton Parker, Monday, 31 January 2011 23:20 (six years ago) Permalink


It kind of dances around the issue, but the point of the technology is it's seed-based and not pollen-based. In other words, you could "protect" patented technology with it because it won't propagate.

afaik Monsanto isn't the only company who's been able to create these genomics in a lab, but it's not a commercially viable thing so no one has any plans to use it.

w/no hesitation (mh), Monday, 31 January 2011 23:47 (six years ago) Permalink

I really wish I had time to argue on this thread!

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:13 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure anyone's arguing since we're all pretty much dissing and defining here

w/no hesitation (mh), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:26 (six years ago) Permalink

I would start the argument.

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:29 (six years ago) Permalink

Monsanto fills me with disgust (probably literally sometimes, if i'm eating shitty food).
the farmer sleeve references is a canadian - percy schmeiser - he fought for years and finally won a relatively small settlement -

obliquity of the ecliptic (rrrobyn), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:20 (six years ago) Permalink

the lefts demonization of gm foods is p unthinking and anti-science imo but w/e monsanto is terrible

Lamp, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:36 (six years ago) Permalink

i agree - there's good food science, incl gm in some instances that i've read about, but montanto-style industrialization of food is cheap and dirty and sociopathically profit-driven

obliquity of the ecliptic (rrrobyn), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:40 (six years ago) Permalink

as a teenage reader of lol adbusters i remember monsanto being one of their biggest boogeymen but i have some ~issues~ w/ a lot of the rhetoric around 'industrialzed agriculture' & how & who determines what food is the most 'natural'. its a tough, weird issue in that i think ppl (myself certainly included) get caught up in signifiers & sorta culture debates, which ends up sidelining some of the broader policy stuff

it was p lol tho to read atul gawande give the dept. of agriculture as a model for reorganizing the health care system

Lamp, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:35 (six years ago) Permalink

a lot of the rhetoric around 'industrialzed agriculture' & how & who determines what food is the most 'natural'

there was an essay i remember reading in one of those alt-collections from the 90s (i think) - either Apocalypse Culture or Amok Journal or something like that - about how the invention of agriculture ruined human society. does anyone else know of this?

sarahel, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:54 (six years ago) Permalink

i'm guessing it was written by this dude

based god fillets with olive oil, cook for an additional 6 minutes (donna rouge), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:12 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm curious to know what my dad would think of this thread. He comes from a family that has traditionally been and, for the most part, still is mostly farmers. He's always been a big supporter of small farmers and getting involved in causes to support local farmers. He also spend the majority of my childhood selling Monsanto products to many of the same farmers. He doesn't do that anymore, but it would be interesting to hear his thoughts. My knee-jerk reaction, knowing as little about this as I do, is to obviously hate on Monsanto. But I also know that without them, my family might not as regularly had food on the table when I was growing up.

one pretty obvious guy in the obvious (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:23 (six years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

looks like three slam dunks for Monsanto in a single month

a little more on Monsanto & Haiti. apparently the seeds Monsanto donated last year were Terminator seeds.

I appreciated Sanpaku's post upthread about how they backed down on Terminator after the uproar & how they're now illegal in India & Brazil, but they are illegal there now only in response to this:

Diminished yields, health problems and weakened prospects to buy the next season's seeds in consequence of and combined with that binding contract with Monsanto have driven many rural farmers to poverty, and subsequently led to a rash of farmer suicides in rural India. Since 1997, more than 182,936 Indian farmers have committed suicide, according to a recent study by the National Crime Records Bureau. "As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seeds with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness. As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide," Indian author Vandana Shiva noted in her 2004 article "The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation."

I don't mean to sound like a Luddite, really don't, so I'm all for Jeff or the other posters working for GMO companies starting more of a pushback instead of me just compiling the tired old arguments. Would simply love to hear conversation on this subject in more places in general, really.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:12 (six years ago) Permalink

good, thanks

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:38 (six years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer, has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

In this short documentary he investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM

john. a resident of chicago., Sunday, 13 November 2011 16:14 (six years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

As a teaser, I quote here the first two sentences:

"Chinese researchers have found small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to proteins in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood."

It goes on from there, obv.

Aimless, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:32 (six years ago) Permalink

One response to that article:

Jeff, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:58 (six years ago) Permalink

I sympathize with that scientist's frustration with the bad analogies and the way it blows an unsubstantiated fear into what reads like a factual headline. It's fear-mongering and not completely rational.

So, nothing has been proven by this article in terms of danger. But her metaphor that this study is simply 'opening a door' for other people to follow up on doesn't rest well either -- the entire reason why most of the article isn't devoted to the study, but to underlining Monsanto's reliance on substantial equivalence to evade FDA testing, is to suggest that this open door complicates the entire concept of 'substantial equivalence'? I admittedly don't understand all the science, and I appreciate you sending these linked rebuttals -- anti-Monsanto sentiment is too often just sentimental horror at the idea of food being tampered with, but one can find plenty of reasons not to trust them

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 03:25 (six years ago) Permalink

Honestly, as much as I'd like to, it's really hard to defend many of the actions of Monsanto. They have made some great breakthroughs in ag science, but like many people have mentioned, the dubious business practices certainly have tainted that. I know there are many well meaning scientists that work for them, that are true interested in the betterment of agriculture, but don't agree with the business practices. It sucks that Monsanto is the biggest game in town and are the only ones with the massive amount of money to throw at R&D. And they are the only ones with enough money to deal with all the regulation of the R&D of genetically engineered plants. Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

You're right with your last point about the anti-Monsanto sentiment and it's that sentiment that drives me nutso. People treat food as sacred and think that the alteration of it seems intrinsically wrong.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:53 (six years ago) Permalink

well -- I am certainly up for this research being done. but if there's anything should be treated as sacred, it is food. the scientists I talk to usually understand the depth of what they're doing, and the managers who risk-assess QA of their work under profit constraints usually don't

i.e. I usually trust the scientists; I don't trust this company

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 21:48 (six years ago) Permalink

as much as I'd like to

why would you like to defend Monsanto

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:03 (six years ago) Permalink

fwiw I'm not against the intersection of science and food (my grandfather was this guy but Monsanto's motives as a corporation are 100% suspect

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (six years ago) Permalink

this is probably known to most people reading the thread, but even if you ignore GMOs entirely, Monsanto is just a terrible, terrible, terrible monster:

-* Headquartered near St. Louis, Missouri, the Monsanto Chemical Company was founded in 1901. Monsanto became a leading manufacturer of sulfuric acid and other industrial chemicals in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Monsanto began producing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs, widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders.
  • The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state. By 1982, nearby Times Beach, Missouri, was found to be so thoroughly contaminated with dioxin, a by-product of PCB manufacturing, that the government ordered it evacuated. Dioxins are endocrine and immune system disruptors, cause congenital birth defects, reproductive and developmental problems, and increase the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in laboratory animals.
  • By the 1940s, Monsanto had begun focusing on plastics and synthetic fabrics like polystyrene (still widely used in food packaging and other consumer products), which is ranked fifth in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.
  • During World War II, Monsanto played a significant role in the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb.
  • Following the war, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture, and began manufacturing the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which contains dioxin. -* Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.
  • The herbicide “Agent Orange,” used by U.S. military forces as a defoliant during the Vietnam War, was a mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D and had very high concentrations of dioxin. U.S. Vietnam War veterans have suffered from a host of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure, and since the end of the war an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese children have been born with deformities.
  • In the 1970s, Monsanto began manufacturing the herbicide Roundup, which has been marketed as a safe, general-purpose herbicide for widespread commercial and consumer use, even though its key ingredient, glyphosate, is a highly toxic poison for animals and humans. In 1997, The New York State Attorney General took Monsanto to court and Monsanto was subsequently forced to stop claiming that Roundup is “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly.”
  • Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things, mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, and chemical spills and improper chemical deposition. In 1995, Monsanto ranked fifth among U.S. corporations in EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, having discharged 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, land, water and underground.
  • Since the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000, the US has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in funding aerial sprayings of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in Colombia. The Roundup is often applied in concentrations 26 times higher than what is recommended for agricultural use. Additionally, it contains at least one surfactant, Cosmo-Flux 411f, whose ingredients are a trade secret, has never been approved for use in the US, and which quadruples the biological action of the herbicide.
  • Not surprisingly, numerous human health impacts have been recorded in the areas affected by the sprayings, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin problems, and even death, especially in children. Additionally, fish and animals will show up dead in the hours and days subsequent to the herbicide sprayings.
  • In the 1980s and early 1990s, Monsanto was behind the aggressive promotion of synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone, approved by the FDA for commercial sale in 1994, despite strong concerns about its safety. Since then, Monsanto has sued small dairy companies that advertised their products as free of the artificial hormone, most recently bringing a lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy in Maine.
  • In August, 2003, Monsanto and its former chemical subsidiary, Solutia, Inc. (now owned by Pharmacia Corp.), agreed to pay $600 million to settle claims brought by more than 20,000 residents of Anniston, AL, over the severe contamination of ground and water by tons of PCBs dumped in the area from the 1930s until the 1970s. Court documents revealed that Monsanto was aware of the contamination decades earlier.

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (six years ago) Permalink

Their business model wrt gm plants is incredibly sleazy, too, regardless of the ecological effects

Do you know what the secret of comity is? (Michael White), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:12 (six years ago) Permalink

why would you like to defend Monsanto

― locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:03 PM (21 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

yeah i had this exact question....

tyga mother (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:25 (six years ago) Permalink

For fun and profit.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:38 (six years ago) Permalink

Monsanto sucks in a lot of ways but the "tinkering with nature" hysteria is really tiresome. Most of the (non-GMO) plants and animals we eat have already been aberrations to "nature" for hundreds or thousands of years thanks to selective breeding.

Oh shit, that's my bone! (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (six years ago) Permalink

Even if I didn't mind tampering with my food, Monsanto would be the last entity I'd want touching it.

*tera, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (six years ago) Permalink


puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:58 (six years ago) Permalink

Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

Monsanto doesn't think it's a wacky idea!

Milton Parker, Thursday, 12 January 2012 00:27 (six years ago) Permalink

Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.

In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto's GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto's GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for 'target retaliation' against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices."

Milton Parker, Monday, 23 January 2012 19:49 (five years ago) Permalink

I know it's not the main problem being addressed in this article, but I've seen the organ damage study referenced a lot. Just to refute that, here is one scientist's take on the problems with the study and conclusions reached:

Trade wars, government corrupt, environmental devastation, sure, I wouldn't put it past them. But organ damage from GMO corn, not likely.

Jeff, Monday, 23 January 2012 20:43 (five years ago) Permalink

Not that this is a totally reassuring thought, but if there was a food product introduced into the mainstream food supply -- one that, in fact, was found in almost EVERYTHING we eat -- and it caused organ failure, wouldn't you see a sudden and alarming rise in organ failure?

frogBaSeball (Hurting 2), Monday, 23 January 2012 20:45 (five years ago) Permalink



though the last three paragraphs are hardly reassuring

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:05 (five years ago) Permalink

there was an essay i remember reading in one of those alt-collections from the 90s (i think) - either Apocalypse Culture or Amok Journal or something like that - about how the invention of agriculture ruined human society. does anyone else know of this?

this was prob Jared Diamond?

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:31 (five years ago) Permalink

it's a common anti-civ talking point, see Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, Chellis Glendinning, etc. Diamond would fit in there as well.

sleeve, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:34 (five years ago) Permalink

I mean he wrote a lil piece that had exactly that as its thesis.

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:35 (five years ago) Permalink


i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:37 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm sure this guy is an evil tool head but it's hard to defend raw milk. Seriously.

Jeff, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:11 (five years ago) Permalink

someone on FB posted this "simple list of companies to avoid"

so all I have to do is make sure my money never ever ends up in the hands of people who drink soft drinks... got it.

crüt, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 18:46 (four years ago) Permalink

Also, be absolutely sure that your money never ends up in the hands of Hershey's Nestle!

how's life, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 19:04 (four years ago) Permalink

Wheat in Chicago fell, headed for the biggest monthly loss since February, after Japan suspended imports from the U.S., where the government discovered an unapproved, genetically modified strain growing in an Oregon field.

Japan, the biggest buyer of U.S. wheat behind Mexico, suspended imports of western-white wheat and feed wheat from the U.S., said Hiromi Iwahama, the director for grain trade and operation at the agriculture ministry. Scientists said the rogue wheat in Oregon was a strain tested from 1998 to 2005 by Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s top seedmaker. Japan also canceled a purchase of 24,926 metric tons of white wheat.

Milton Parker, Friday, 31 May 2013 20:24 (four years ago) Permalink

gree hee hee

ttyih boi (crüt), Friday, 31 May 2013 20:28 (four years ago) Permalink

This is front page news in Oregon, it is a big deal.

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Friday, 31 May 2013 21:00 (four years ago) Permalink

huh, i never knew Oregon was a wheat producer

lipitor retriever (brownie), Friday, 31 May 2013 22:48 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Now the proud owners of Blackwater aka Xe Services (and now Academi?)

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Sunday, 21 July 2013 23:42 (four years ago) Permalink

wait really? googling it there's much noise on this subject but everyone's source seems to be this three-year-old scahill article about monsanto being one of blackwater's clients. it's got this hilariously scary bit

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.

which i hadn't known (although note "sought to"), but it doesn't say monsanto bought the company. the two highest results for "monsanto blackwater" are articles called, respectively, "Yes, Monsanto Actually DID Buy the BLACKWATER Mercenary Group!" and "No, Monsanto actually DIDN'T buy Blackwater." the former does not fill me w confidence:

Xe (now Academi) has, indeed, been purchased, and while there’s no way of DOCUMENTING who the new owners really are, the logical conclusion would be that Monsanto, who had been employing them prior to the sale are the new owners.

idk if that's the logical conclusion. still, plenty to get high and contemplate for doomy thrills in biotech giants buddying up to mercenary crusader giants even without outright purchase.

"""""""""""""stalin""""""""""" (difficult listening hour), Monday, 22 July 2013 00:14 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Chipotle goes GMO-free, Monsanto et al freak out:

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 18:16 (two years ago) Permalink

This is such a rare opportunity to lol at everyone involved, because lol @ Chipotle for caving to Food Babe and her ilk and lol @ Monsanto for getting fucked by it (however minimally).

Johnny Fever, Friday, 22 May 2015 18:39 (two years ago) Permalink

Most definitely can't post on this from work, will check in later.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 18:46 (two years ago) Permalink

This is such a rare opportunity to lol at everyone involved

p much

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 19:06 (two years ago) Permalink

middle class white people doing their part to raise food prices for everyone, gotta love it

k3vin k., Friday, 22 May 2015 19:39 (two years ago) Permalink

middle class white people doing their part to raise food prices for everyone prevent the patenting and monopolizing of food, gotta love it

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 19:47 (two years ago) Permalink

Monsanto fears nothing more than losing market share due to market forces it does not fully control. In that it is like any other monopolist or aspiring monopolist.

Aimless, Friday, 22 May 2015 19:53 (two years ago) Permalink

Companies are probably right to fear a critical mass of people who don't know what they are talking about.

Petite Lamela (ShariVari), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:17 (two years ago) Permalink

Suppose 50 million Americans decided to avoid GMO corn and soy, while the remaining 250 million ate GMO corn and soy without blinking. What is the worst result of this scenario for Monsanto? It would mean a loss of profits. For humanity, what difference would it make?

btw, the major difference in Monsanto gmo crops is not crops with a higher yield per acre or food with greater nutrition, but the ability to spray Roundup onto fields without killing the gmo plants.

Aimless, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:24 (two years ago) Permalink

SV I am genuinely surprised that you are a Monsanto apologist

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:25 (two years ago) Permalink

I mean sure, liberal anti-GMO activism is problematic on many levels, but this company has a well-documented evil streak

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:27 (two years ago) Permalink

Companies are probably right to fear a critical mass of people who don't know what they are talking about.

hmm I would think this is their bread and butter tbh

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:27 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm not arguing in Monsanto's favour by any means but the ability of the internet to force change through the spreading of panic is something companies can legitimately complain about. I'm as sceptical of Monsanto as anyone but I'd rather the debate was around the credible science / politics of GMOs than the chemtrails-type fearmongering that seems to have taken over. It might be the right result for the wrong reasons in this case but idk if that is always going to be true.

Petite Lamela (ShariVari), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:39 (two years ago) Permalink

that's a fair point, thanks for clarification

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:42 (two years ago) Permalink

conflating Monsanto and GMO is problematic imo, even if they have been on the breaking edge of the wave

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:45 (two years ago) Permalink

yes, definitely, my issue is with the patenting and the lawsuits

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:51 (two years ago) Permalink

any particular lawsuits? science patents are pretty fucked across the board, imo

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:54 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm against the entire legal principle that allows the patenting of a genetic code

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:58 (two years ago) Permalink


same story, different article:

The company is notorious for suing those farmers when their non-GMO crops become contaminated by GMOs growing in nearby fields.

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:05 (two years ago) Permalink

The Bowman case is interesting in that it is kind of a self-defeating move and was done almost completely as trolling. iirc he had previously purchased seed, signed the contracts involved with that seed, and then decided he was going to be clever and try to get something for free, and in fact rub it in the face of the people who sold him the original seed. I can't vouch for the completeness of this article, but it gets into the fact that he was a licensee who was trying to get around a license he signed:

I think the legislation, as-is, is problematic although the public understanding of plant breeding is more so. If hybrid maize was saved and planted year-over-year, you'd have a completely different crop than originally planted -- hybrids do not breed true. I'm less versed with the soy end of things (as is the industry, as soy is a distant second as far as planted acres go), but I believe the same holds true.

It's worth noting that the last article isn't about Monsanto suing anyone -- it's about a group preemptively suing Monsanto. It's also inconsistent in that they start out with

The company is notorious for suing those farmers when their non-GMO crops become contaminated by GMOs growing in nearby fields.

and later state
The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the plaintiffs had actually been sued by Monsanto and therefore their reasons were "unsubstantiated."

while failing to cite a single case of Monsanto suing a farmer for having a field that has picked up GMO traits via cross-pollination.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:33 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah, that might be repeating misinformation from the Saskatchewan case. that's what I get for a cursory search.

you are correct abt hybrids not breeding true, I think that is the case for all crops

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:44 (two years ago) Permalink

fwiw, Monsanto's background in crop biotech is illuminating as far as their motives go

Until the 80s, they were pretty much completely a chemical company, but (as several companies did) they decided that biotechnology was going to be huge and started tinkering with plant genetics in the 80s. They didn't really bring anything to market until the mid-90s, at which point they licensed the technology to many companies, and got into the maize business. That was in 1996 -- they didn't actually own any means of commercial production before then, afaik.

Following that, they bought as many of the mid-sized maize seed companies as they could. Others have been bought or merged into other corporations. As far as mass industrial feed stock goes, the majority is Roundup Ready seed.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:45 (two years ago) Permalink

a better article, which notes that many farmers settle because they can't afford to go to court:

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:48 (two years ago) Permalink

What I know from friends/family involved in farming (of the corn variety) and what I've heard in my professional career, you can break down the corn industry like this:

  • Small growers, low acreage: No real net positive for buying expensive seed. They use the same seed year-over-year, or more likely just buy something cheap and local. If they own equipment it's old or small-scale. Pretty unsophisticated as far as chemicals go (you see bugs, you spray for bugs?)
  • Mid-sized growers: Might own some of their own equipment, might rent out or pay teams to come harvest/spray. Real entry level for the high-end seed, more likely to take shortcuts, very interested in whatever it takes to get better yield. Unsophisticated about chemicals, but can afford them.
  • Large-scale operations: Own large tracts of contiguous land, tens of thousands of acres. Own really expensive equipment. Precision agriculture, including yield monitoring by location, fertilizer and chemical application appropriate down to the acre. Probably have drones flying over their fields.
The large scale ones, while they're using tons of land and probably not doing the crop rotation they should, are most likely not the ones screwing up the water table or patent-trolling seed companies. They're too busy trying to optimize every planted acre. They aren't going to play loose with regulations -- if they don't personally have an agronomist on staff, they are provided agronomy services by at least one of the companies they work with. They're the ones who make sure to plant the refuge area in their field -- the non-biotech crops with no insect resistance to make sure tolerant bugs don't become dominant. There are in-bag refuge products where 20% of the seed complies, but the mid-sized growers might get greedy and not plant it.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:57 (two years ago) Permalink

that VF article kind of shows the way they are being assclowns, though -- afaik, they hire jerks to lurk around farms that have signed a license agreement, wait for them to plant seed that wasn't purchased under that agreement but has patented traits, and then drop paperwork

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:03 (two years ago) Permalink

the fact that their goons can't even tell which farmer (or store owner) is which is kind of the prime indicator that they don't give a shit about farmers, even while they're buying up seed companies

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:05 (two years ago) Permalink

corn farming is so fucking weird these days. there's a yearly show called the "f4rm progress show" that bounces between Iowa and Illinois and the weirdest moment, attending it probably six or so years ago, was seeing a machine that was planting seed in a field at a precise depth that varied by that square foot's soil conditions, ground temperature, etc. followed by a FFA kid in high school with messed up teeth asking me if I could grab a free sample of chaw for him from this chewing tobacco booth

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:18 (two years ago) Permalink

I think Monsanto will even sue farmers who have genetically modified seeds blow into their land without even planting it on purpose

panettone for the painfully alone (mayor jingleberries), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:27 (two years ago) Permalink

uh we just went over that case

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 22:29 (two years ago) Permalink

They haven't, iirc, although people will constantly claim they have

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:31 (two years ago) Permalink

there has been at least one high-profile misunderstanding of that:

All claims relating to Roundup Ready canola in Schmeiser's 1997 canola crop were dropped prior to trial and the court only considered the canola in Schmeiser's 1998 fields. Regarding his 1998 crop, Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination.

however, the Oregon wheat case referred to above seems to have been the result of accidental contamination - but afaik nobody is being sued there.

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 22:31 (two years ago) Permalink

If you're curious and/or a complete masochist, page 32 of this pdf appears to be the 2015 technology use agreement:

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:37 (two years ago) Permalink

yes, definitely, my issue is with the patenting and the lawsuits

― sleeve, Friday, May 22, 2015 4:51 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

right and i won't begrudge that, but this revive was about a food company ditching GMO ingredients. different issue

k3vin k., Friday, 22 May 2015 23:42 (two years ago) Permalink

chipotle is full of shit, I go into there and wear a little towel over my eyes as if I was eating an ortolan, so as to not see the "gmo free" banner

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 23:44 (two years ago) Permalink

I know a few beekeepers, and most of the concern I see about Monsanto/GMOs is about the effect on bee populations from using additional pesticide. Can anyone point to a good, solid article that defends against this?

cause baby, now we got dad bod (how's life), Friday, 22 May 2015 23:50 (two years ago) Permalink

The bee issue is complex and most likely related to insecticides, if there is a link. I know a single study was about honeybee confusion in presence of glyphosate (a herbicide), but that was in isolation and was fairly circumstantial. There's a stronger case for neonicotinoids (a seed treatment, which a seed is coated in, in order to avoid predation of the seed and seedlings) being toxic to bees, but I am not aware of any evidence that it happens when used as intended.

There is a case in Europe where a field was planted with a neonicotinoid treatment that was powdered, it was windy, and it blew on to a neighboring field that was pollinating. Pretty atypical, not how that pesticide is recommended to be used.

The "articles that defend against" policy is kind of one of those "can you show an article saying you didn't beat your wife?" things. I think there might be something messing with honeybees, but every agriculture chemical-based argument I've read is usually a petition saying "ban neonicotinoids and glyphosate and save the bees!"

ultimate american sock (mh), Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:06 (two years ago) Permalink

also worth noting that people throw neonicotinoids under the weird GMO umbrella (and under the Monsanto thread!) when it's just a nicotine-like chemical

fwiw original Roundup (glyphosate) isn't under patent anymore and you can buy it generically.

also, the glyphosate tolerance gene? for soybeans, it's no longer under patent. it's expired elsewhere, but as of this year, it's open in the US

ultimate american sock (mh), Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:13 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah it is my understanding that a lot of nicotine-based pesticides actually qualify for organic certification.

I will try to look up some good links for the neonicotinoid/bee issue, it's been talked about a lot in the Willamette valley lately.

sleeve, Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:41 (two years ago) Permalink

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