Thursday, June 20, 2013

Monsanto - taking a backward step?

Good news - at least in one part of the world. Europeans have long been wary of embracing GM-produce, to the point that Monsanto says it will cease its lobbying activities in that region. Announcing that they plan to focus their activities in areas that are more receptive to their GM-technology, Monsanto cited low demand from European farmers and “stiff opposition” from the general public as the reason for their decision. Let’s hope the rest of the world catches up with those stiff European sentiments soon. 

On another front, Monsanto is under a different sort of attack. A non-approved, experimental strain of wheat has been found growing in Oregon, several years after Monsanto concluded its trials there. In response, Japan has placed an outright ban on imports of wheat from the USA, with other markets likely to follow suit. If the hip pockets of grain and other exporters start to feel the effects of their embrace of GM, we might see further curtailment of the activities of Monsanto and its ilk. Meanwhile lobbying for all produce to be labelled as GM-containing or otherwise is gathering momentum state by state across the USA and a class action has been mounted by farmers claiming loss of income due to import bans.

Closer to home, The Safe Food Foundation tells us that wheat is Australia's most profitable commodity, worth $7.5 billion in 2011-12, with about two thirds of that production earmarked for export. Safe Food Foundation continues ... “Twenty five major food companies, including Barilla, Bakers Delight, Carrefour, Sanitarium, and General Mills state that they are not interested in buying GM wheat, or have a policy excluding all GM ingredients. This is clear indication that growing GM wheat would have devastating economic consequences for tax payers, wheat farmers and the food industry.” Australia should take note. 

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