By July 2, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto Amidst MEDIA BLACKOUT

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We broke the story of an Oregon anti-GMO direct action, employing two methods – both uprooting GMO crops, and allegedly torching the fields as well – after the initial local reports had more or less scrubbed the story, and kept mum about additional methods of scorching the fields, as well as the crops.

The FBI statement that followed, while deliberately vague, seemed to confirm our sources, that there was ”significant damage to two plots of land used to grow genetically engineered sugar beets.” With Haitian farmers vowing to burn Monsanto seeds sent to them, and Hungary now having torched Monsanto crops, the corporate media seems to be intent on keeping the public in the dark about the backlash and popular uprising against the Monsanto corporation and GMO crops in general. Perhaps, this backlash is why all indications are that, after hiring the mercenary group for undisclosed purposes, Monsanto actually did buy Blackwater, in spite of earlier claims to the contrary.

Now, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pacific Northwest wheat farmers and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) after Oregon wheat farmers suffered depressed wheat prices for their crops following the discovery of allegedly illegal genetically engineered, glyphosate-resistant wheat plants in an Oregon field.

The genetically engineered (GE) crops, created by Monsanto, have not been approved for sale or commercial production in the United States.

The CFS claims the presence of the illegal crops spurred top wheat importers such as Japan, South Korea and the European Union to enact restrictions on American wheat or calls for testing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on May 29 it was investigating the discovery of genetically modified wheat in the Oregon field. Monsanto had conducted field trials for several years on the wheat, which was engineered to survive application of the herbicide glyphosate. However th compoany suspended the research in 2005 amidst concern from the U.S. wheat industry that the seed would hurt farmers’ export business. The seed was never sold commercially.

“We farmers cannot stand idly by while companies like Monsanto destroy our export markets and our economy,” said Tom Stahl, 4th generation Washington wheat farmer.  “These reckless open-air test plots of GE wheat must be put to an end.”

“Monsanto has put our farmer’s wheat export market at grave risk. Billions of dollars, and our food supply, is at risk because of Monsanto’s negligence. They must be held accountable,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director Center for Food Safety.”

Wheat farmers and anti-GMO advocacy organizations have long argued that GE wheat would contaminate conventional wheat, making it unsellable to many markets that reject GE products.

The Center For Food Safety claims past transgenic contamination episodes involving GE corn and GE rice have triggered over $1 billion in losses and economic hardship to farmers.

For years the CFS tried to prevent outdoor GE crop field testing and commercialization of genetically engineered crops for these very reasons, it says.

Through the lawsuit filed on Thursday the Center for Food Safety and Washington white wheat farmers are representing the broad class of farmers affected by the contamination, seeking relief and hoping to force Monsanto take measures to clean up the contamination and ensure it never happens again.

“The discovery of unapproved Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon, years after Monsanto terminated field testing, is one more example of Monsanto’s inability to keep their engineered genes under control.  Until Monsanto and USDA begin to take gene flow from field tests more seriously, we can expect escaped genes to continue to cause havoc,” said Martha Crouch, Ph.D., Plant Sciences and a consultant for CFS in a statement issued by CFS.

The farmers also seek compensatory damages for class members resulting from the contamination of the general wheat supply in the form of diminished prices for soft white wheat resulting from the loss of export and domestic markets for wheat, and increased grower costs resulting from the need to maintain the integrity of the soft white wheat supply.

Monsanto’s Chief Litigation Counsel Kyle McClain said in a statement that filing a lawsuit now is premature. Both Monsanto and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack have said the discovery appears to be an isolated instance.

The media is keeping the public in the dark, uninformed about the mounting public anger against Monsanto. But media blackouts simply don’t work in this Internet age, as long as we do our part, speak out and spread the word!

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