Monsanto’s opposition to mandatory labeling for GMO products has been covered widely. This has raised two important questions: first, why are they so afraid of labeling GMO products if the products are indeed not only safe, but superior as the mega-corporation claims? Furthermore, how has Monsanto consistently been able to have its way with the FDA?
Agriculture and biotech giant Monsanto has become the poster child for genetically modified organisms or GMOs. They have led efforts since the 1990s to make GMOs part of the nation’s diet, and also to keep the public from knowing whether or not the food they are eating has been genetically modified.
Monsanto supplies farmers all over the world with their seeds, dominating the global market for genetically modified crops. Freelance reporter Chris Parker, who recently wrote a 4,000 word expose of Monsanto for the Village Voice newsweekly, documents that Monsanto’s seeds “cover 40% of America’s crop acres and 27% worldwide.”
The Daily Ticker, Morgan Korn, Parker describes how Monsanto is connected with Washington lawmakers in an interview with Parker. This impressive feat of corruption was accomplished by spending a lobbying budget of $70 million since 1998 with $10 million in campaign contributions in the past decade alone.
Furthermore, Michael Taylor, the former vice president of public policy at Monsanto, was appoint earlier this year by President Obama as deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the Food and Drug Administration.
This underscores two things according to Parker, how deeply Monsanto has become embedded in some of the highest levels of government and how Monsanto has thereby been able to covertly influence the food policies implemented by the government.
“By controlling all of the seed companies [Monsanto] is able to limit the distribution of other seeds and kind of channel what kinds of things get put on the market. They’re like the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), but twice as mean.”
Parker says Monsanto employees will “harass” farmers to scare them from replanting the company’s seeds without permission. The company also hires “people who used to bust up unions” to investigate other seed distributors to protect its patents, he adds. Sources told Parker that farmers refer to Monsanto as the “seed police” and employ “Gestapo” and “mafia” like tactics to “spy and intimidate” them.
Korn is right. Monsanto hits any farmers with who they believe has violated their patents with a lawsuit. Just this May the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling from a lower Indiana court that David Runyon, a soybean farmer, was guilty of patent infringement. This ruling came down against Runyon for nothing other than “planting and saving seeds that contained Monsanto’s genetically altered Roundup Ready weed killer.”
Parker further explains that “The FDA and USDA don’t study these crops – they take Monsanto’s words that they’re safe.” And this is, of course, the complete circle of corruption. Because Monsanto buys politicians, the FDA and USDA back off of them and allow their mafia-like monopoly to continue unimpeded.