Avoiding GMOs isn’t just anti-science. It’s immoral.

By Mitch Daniels

Of the several claims of “anti-science” that clutter our national debates these days, none can be more flagrantly clear than the campaign against modern agricultural technology, most specifically the use of molecular techniques to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Here, there are no credibly conflicting studies, no arguments about the validity of computer models, no disruption of an ecosystem nor any adverse human health or even digestive problems, after 5 billion acres have been cultivated cumulatively and trillions of meals consumed.

And yet a concerted, deep-pockets campaign, as relentless as it is baseless, has persuaded a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products, and to pay premium prices for “non-GMO” or “organic” foods that may in some cases be less safe and less nutritious. Thank goodness the toothpaste makers of the past weren’t cowed so easily; the tubes would have said “No fluoride inside!” and we’d all have many more cavities.

This is the kind of foolishness that rich societies can afford to indulge. But when they attempt to inflict their superstitions on the poor and hungry peoples of the planet, the cost shifts from affordable to dangerous and the debate from scientific to moral.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. And the Monsanto’s of this world will stop at nothing to get total control of our food chain by means of GMO’s (and lawsuits). And when they have, they will extort the world for everything it has. Now THAT will be felt by the poor.

    I have no objection against genetic modification in principle, at the contrary, we have been doing it for ages albeit slower than science is currently making possible. But in this day and age GMO’s are wielded as a weapon of mass subjugation. Only when that threat is completely negated, can GMO’s become truly beneficial to mankind.

    So for now I call bollocks!

  2. Avoiding GMOs isn’t just anti-science. It’s immoral.

    Such claims of “antiscience” are of course simply anti-scientific propagandist strawman crap!

    People who use scientific methodology evaluate arguments rather than ducking issues and creating strawman diversions from the real issues!

    Of the several claims of “anti-science” that clutter our national debates these days, none can be more flagrantly clear than the campaign against modern agricultural technology,

    . . . . And as we all know, [cough] “There are no environmental problems with the eco-system degradations, loss of biodiversity, mass extinctions, pollution, and anti-biotic resistant pathogens, caused by the unfettered applications of ‘modern agricultural technology’!” 🙂

    most specifically the use of molecular techniques to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Here, there are no credibly conflicting studies, no arguments about the validity of computer models, no disruption of an ecosystem

    That is simply the corporate propagandists big lie! There were ecological, pollution and health problems from mono-cultures, invasive species, pesticides, and fertiliser run-off long before genetic modifications were added to the mix!

    nor any adverse human health or even digestive problems, after 5 billion acres have been cultivated cumulatively and trillions of meals consumed.

    A strange claim: – given that thousands, and in some cases millions of humans, have allergies to various foods and digestive problems with some of them, even before genetic modifications are added to the existing list!
    Clearly this propagandist is giving bland assurances without even a basic understanding of these subjects, or the thousands of SCIENTIFIC studies on them!

    And yet a concerted, deep-pockets campaign, as relentless as it is baseless, has persuaded a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products,

    Cynical dishonest projections from corporate funded disinformation advertising campaigns would be funny, if they were not so sick!

    and to pay premium prices for “non-GMO” or “organic” foods that may [or may not] in some cases be [more or] less safe and [more] less nutritious.

    ORGANIC foods, are of course, also free from pesticide residues, anti-biotic contaminated meat and eggs, and are from sustainable agriculture which considers questions like contamination of water supplies from agricultural run-offs!
    While SOME GMO crops have been shown to be safe TO EAT, that says absolutely NOTHING about their effects on the environment, or loss of biodiversity in available crops, or in wild ecosystems, in the pursuit of commercial profit!
    Those are is the key topics which cheeer-leaders for GMO FOOD strenuously avoid!
    As it states in the OP:-

    “anti-science” that clutter our national debates these days, none can be more flagrantly clear than the campaign against modern agricultural technology

    The profiteering de-regulators would love to avoid their products being labelled and traceable to their means of production, so that members of the pubic with moral scruples are kept in the dark as to where their food comes from and how it is produced!

    However, propagandist posers are easily distinguished from scientists by their use of unsupported assertions, and silly claims that scientific criticisms which take in the big-picture, are “anti-science”, when they are simply “anti-reckless use of science”!

    Clearly such people are either dishonest stooges, or scientific illiterates who do not know or care about the false assurances they give or the crucial related issues they dodge and ignore!

    Thank goodness the toothpaste makers of the past weren’t cowed so easily; the tubes would have said “No fluoride inside!” and we’d all have many more cavities.

    Thank goodness the fluoride manufacturers and regulation bodies employed REAL SCIENTISTS to set correct dosages, rather than corporate advertising yah-hoos chanting “anti-science” and maximising sales and profits!!

    This is the kind of foolishness that rich societies can afford to indulge.

    Yep! Corporate advertising budgets for disinformation are an absolute disgrace! – especially when they project their misleading foolishness on to critics!

    But when they attempt to inflict their superstitions on the poor and hungry peoples of the planet, the cost shifts from affordable to dangerous and the debate from scientific to moral.

    Yep that “superstitious science label”, which pseudo-science propagandists love to stick on criticisms of corporate misuses of science!
    Cynical corporate profiteers have been exploiting third-world workers with dangerous insecticides used without proper safety equipment, for decades, and seizing land for commercial crop production for export, has NOTHING to do with feeding poor third-world farmers ‘families, and a great deal to do with foreign corporate profit!
    They then have the hypocrisy to project their callous exploitation of the uneducated poor and dispossessed, in corrupt countries where politicians are easily bought – on to those who have scruples about environmental damage, corporate land-grabs, and abuse of poor farmworkers!

    @OP – link – From campus to Congress, it’s common these days to speak in terms of “grand challenges.”
    No challenge is grander than feeding the 9 billion or more people with whom we will share the Earth in a few decades.

    This is of course the flawed premise on which the “perpetual growth on a finite planet myth” is based!

    Of course, those people weren’t supposed to exist. Just a few decades back, “experts” were winning “genius” prizes for pontificating that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over” and forecasting that hundreds of millions were going to die and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.

    . . . and the laws of population explosions, food-chain energy flows, and population dynamics, make it absolutely clear that like banking-bubbles bursting, exploding populations crash – sooner or later!

    (Q: If that’s genius, what does ignorance look like?

    It looks just like a journalist called Mitch Daniels, babbling nonsense on a subject he knows nothing about!

    Aren’t the prize givers entitled to a refund?)

    Yep! Any one who is paid to claim that GMOs will solve the population explosion, should be fined at least twice what they are being paid for saying so!

  3. As I said on an earlier thread,

    “GMOs are safe”!

    . . . and nobody told the GMO germ-warfare specialists they were wasting their time and money! 🙂

  4. Bloody Republican stooge.

    Get the message. Crappy business methods, monopoly and monoculture risks, coercive IP policing favouring the rich are equally reasons to want to know whats in the packet.

  5. Sounds like you guys have this one nailed and wrapped up. Daniels is an idiot or paid propagandist. Notice there is never an attempt to parse the resistance into the “ignorant” camp, who are just scared of Frankenscience, and the camp that just knows what the hell is going on in the world. The human food supply should not be vulnerable to the greed of a few multinationals. GMOs are more about corporate control and profits than decreasing starvation. Notice the overproduction of food in Western countries is landfilled, never distributed to the poor or starving. Notice the complete and utter absence of any mention of the economics or politics that are the real challenges of GMOs. I am curious how CFI leadership stands on this issue.

  6. You guys are still tilting at windmills! It is frankly humiliating to see such anti-scientific hysteria here at Richard Dawkins Net. There are many kinds of genetically engineered crops out there and they are successful because they are valued by farmers, not because they are imposed on them. The idea that farmers would intentionally do anything to damage their land, themselves or their own customers is pretty strange. Yes, rather than reading our very long debate that I am sure Alan4discussion will refer you to, let me summarize it for you: He is terrified his RoundUp might lose its effectiveness on the couch grass in his garden. You guys should really be ashamed of yourselves!

  7. prietnul

    anti-scientific hysteria

    Strawman. I have plans for GMOs for use in vertical farms. And I have a wide range of proposals for the industry to address my concerns of abusive business practices.

    Accept the debate is bigger than you’ve ever bothered to frame it or keep your narrow views and ignorant framing of mine to yourself.

    The shame is entirely yours.

  8. prietenul #6
    Jan 5, 2018 at 12:49 am

    You guys are still tilting at windmills!

    Oh dear! It is sad that you have not yet begun climbing the learning curve to properly inform and educate yourself!

    It is frankly humiliating to see such anti-scientific hysteria here at Richard Dawkins Net.

    @#2 – Yep that “superstitious science label”, which pseudo-science propagandists love to stick on criticisms of corporate misuses of science!
    However, propagandist posers are easily distinguished from scientists by their use of unsupported assertions, and silly claims that scientific criticisms which take in the big-picture, are “anti-science”, when they are simply “anti-reckless use of science”!

    There are many kinds of genetically engineered crops out there and they are successful because they are valued by farmers,

    There are indeed SOME GMO crops and products, which have been properly checked and evaluated for productive use and food safety, in countries where they are properly regulated.

    not because they are imposed on them.

    .. . not because they are FULLY imposed on them YET!
    You are unaware of attempts at gene patenting monopolies and the loss of traditional varieties from the commercial market?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_diversity

    Crop diversity is the variance in genetic and phenotypic characteristics of plants used in agriculture.
    Over the past 50 years, there has been a major decline in two components of crop diversity; genetic diversity within each crop and the number of species commonly grown.

    Crop diversity loss threatens global food security, as the world’s human population depends on a diminishing number of varieties of a diminishing number of crop species.
    Crops are increasingly grown in monoculture, meaning that if, as in the historic Irish Potato Famine, a single disease overcomes a variety’s resistance, it may destroy an entire harvest, or as in the case of the ‘Gros Michel’ banana, may cause the commercial extinction of an entire variety.
    With the help of seed banks, international organizations are working to preserve crop diversity.

    The idea that farmers would intentionally do anything to damage their land, themselves or their own customers is pretty strange.

    Unsurprisingly, much of it is done in ignorance, in denial, or in response to commercial pressures!
    If you live in Africa or other climate sensitive areas, where jungles and forests have been cleared, and via share cropping or farming, converted into scrub and deserts, the EVIDENCE is pretty clear!

    https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/soil-erosion-and-degradation

    Increased demand for agriculture commodities generates incentives to convert forests and grasslands to farm fields and pastures.
    The transition to agriculture from natural vegetation often cannot hold onto the soil and many of these plants, such as coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean and wheat, can actually increase soil erosion beyond the soil’s ability to maintain itself.

    Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.
    In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity. These are very real and at times severe issues.

    The effects of soil erosion go beyond the loss of fertile land.
    It has led to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, clogging these waterways and causing declines in fish and other species. And degraded lands are also often less able to hold onto water, which can worsen flooding. Sustainable land use can help to reduce the impacts of agriculture and livestock, preventing soil degradation and erosion and the loss of valuable land to desertification.

    The health of soil is a primary concern to farmers and the global community whose livelihoods depend on well managed agriculture that starts with the dirt beneath our feet.

    http://www.sustainabilitylabs.org/ecosystem-restoration/learning-modules/has-human-activity-caused-the-spread-of-deserts-in-the-middle-east-and-worldwide-and-can-human-intervention-reverse-it/

    Knowing what is understood today on the climatic impact of vegetation and forests specifically in creating low pressure systems and inducing cloud formation, and considering the fact that within a short period about 2 mio km2 or around 50 % of the ecosystems surrounding the Mediterranean and in Central Asia were heavily impacted by deforestation and desertification, a clear climatic impact, and specifically a reduction in precipitation in the Eastern Mediterranean should be expected and predicted. Various recent reports and models indeed predict and model dramatic alterations in rainfall patterns induced by deforestation and land degradation in areas where recent vegetation changes are better documented and understood, e.g. in Western Australia.

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5318e/x5318e02.htm
    Though degradation is largely man-made, and hence its pace is governed primarily by the speed at which population pressure mounts, irregular natural events, such as droughts, exacerbate the situation. The 1982/85 drought, for example, had a dramatic effect on the speed of land degradation and desertification. Essential though food aid is in such emergencies, it clearly does nothing to alleviate environmental damage.

    Many African countries have already lost a significant quantity of their soils to various forms of degradation. Many areas in the continent are said to be loosing over 50 tones of soil per hectare per year.
    This is roughly equivalent to a loss of about 20 billion tones of Nitrogen, 2 billion tones of Phosphorus and 41 billion tones of potassium per year.
    Serious erosion areas in the continent can be found in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Zaire, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mauritania, Niger, the Sudan and Somalia.

    Desertification is a serious problem in the continent. It has been estimated that 319 million hectares of Africa are vulnerable to desertification hazards due to sand movement.
    An FAO/UNEP assessment of land degradation in Africa suggests that large areas of countries north of the equator suffer from serious desertification problems. For example, the desert is said to be moving at an annual rate of 5 km in the semi-arid areas of West Africa.

    So the notion that land is well managed and sustainably maintained, simply because it managed by farmers, and commercial operators, is PURE SELF DELUDING WISH-THINKING!

    That is why there are campaigns from well informed people for sustainable farming to be more widely introduced!

  9. prietenul #6
    Jan 5, 2018 at 12:49 am

    Yes, rather than reading our very long debate that I am sure Alan4discussion will refer you to,

    Yep! You have clearly failed to learn ANYTHING about this subject from earlier discussions and links! However, I am dedicated to the education of the ignorant in the interests of the wider community!

    let me summarize it for you: He is terrified his RoundUp might lose its effectiveness on the couch grass in his garden.

    While I do use RoundUp exclusively on paths and drives, the loss of effectiveness in properly regulated agriculture, is a much more serious (non-parochial big-picture) issue! – Just like anti-biotic resistant pathogens are a serious issue, as a result of decades of their persistent misuse in livestock meat and egg production!

    You guys should really be ashamed of yourselves!

    You really should be embarrassed by the levels of ignorance displayed in your persistent unevidenced assertions, contradicting accessible information which has been a matter of record for decades!

  10. The issue here is about wanting decent labeling so we can make choices based on our preferences.

    The argument was that folk would be confused by too much information or that the labels were too small for all that could be required.

    QR codes or NFC labels website linked that can fix this. Phones do this stuff and apps can search for your preferences. In store scan as you shop readers could do this whilst totting up your bill, employing your preferences. Fridges will employ these same labels to know their own contents and to prepare your shopping/ordering list.

    There is no reason not to supply the information customers want. I want to buy line caught Tuna. Sustainably farmed cod from Scotland. Nothing with ingredients from Monsanto until they offer cheaper seeds in Ethiopia and support the African seedbanks. All the data you want is known and should be available all through the compounding chain of prepared foods even down to batch levels. Tech makes this trivial. Tech will break up monopolies by allowing niche suppliers to offer differentiated choices. Free the market!

  11. Craig

    I am curious how CFI leadership stands on this issue.

    I’m not sure that articles, published here, are particularly well vetted. I was disappointed to see an article published here at RD.net from RealClearScience, a politicised promoter of articles that tend to support a libertarian social and economic stance. Not necessarily untrue but decidedly partial.

  12. phil rimmer #10
    Jan 5, 2018 at 7:42 am

    The issue here is about wanting decent labeling so we can make choices based on our preferences.

    While the “Non-GMO” campaign and label, have aspects of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, until the commercial propagandists and those stealthily hiding dubious environmentally destructive production methods stop opposing clear labelling, it is probably the best option available.
    Lost sales, might even motivate them to get their act together on labelling!

    Many European countries put GMO products on hold, until the industry did some proper homework to produce evidence for their claims, and discontinued some of their more dangerous and destructive experiments.

    There can be an informed scientific debate, but if corporate propagandist yahoos chant “anti-science”, or hippies or quacks actually make anti-science claims, I will call them out and expose their deceptions.

  13. phil rimmer #10
    Jan 5, 2018 at 7:42 am

    There is no reason not to supply the information customers want.
    I want to buy line caught Tuna.

    I think this makes a good point!

    Fish (except from polluted rivers, lakes and estuaries) is safe to eat!

    That does NOT mean that critics of the destructive global exploitation of oceans, and commercial over-fishing, are “ANTI-SCIENCE”!

    It merely illustrates the diversionary distractions of uncaring big commercial interests, and the ignorance of their propaganda-fed cheerleaders!

    Leaving out herbicide and insecticide issues, some GMO crops are AS SAFE to eat as other crops, and NEARLY as safe to introduce as new species, to ecosystems where they have not previously been present.

    However! There is a MASSIVE global problem of alien introduced species (GMO or otherwise), becoming invasive weeds, causing massive problems and extinctions, and costing billions of £ / $ to control – even when this is possible!
    Unregulated introductions of foreign species to new habitats is NEVER “safe”! – Hence we have quarantine laws at state borders in countries which take some responsible action!

  14. Today’s invention.

    Yourlabel.com

    A cloud based service of your preferred, ethical, political (local industry, freetrade) purchasing requirements. A repository for all manufacturers e-labeling/use data including batch variations and dating. (useful for unexpected health issues.) Discussion forums with manufacturers input encouraged.

    An ability to accumulate customer feedback at each purchase and automatically inform manufacturers of a choice for or against them, corporate policy on X, quality, inadequate labeling on Y, egregious advertising or whatever. (“Medifacts”is a disgusting deception.)

    Informing manufacturers immediately why they got or lost out on a purchase can only benefit everybody. Its why they will pay for the system. I see it as encouraging consumer power and encouraging a more sophisticated manufacturer engagement with customer needs.

  15. @OP – “organic” foods that may in some [rare] cases be less safe and less nutritious.

    https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/photos/a.496176595154.294030.8798180154/10155826903880155/?type=3

    “REMIND ME AGAIN WHY YOU PAY EXTRA FOR ORGANIC FOOD?”

    Organic consumer:
    I NEED TO MAKE SURE WHAT I EAT IS [toxic] CHEMICAL FREE!

    LAUGHING JACKASS:-
    “Spoiler Alert: All of your food is made of chemicals.
    You’re made of chemicals.”

    . . . . . So that means all chemicals are safe and harmless! ??? 🙂

    Was the demented laughter from the dose of toxic insecticide, or the Nitrous Oxide fumes from the diesel emissions???

  16. “And yet a concerted, deep-pockets campaign, as relentless as it is baseless …”
    He’s talking about the anti-GMO side, is he? Taking the risk of being considered excessive, then the European Jews were deep-pocketed when confronted by Hitler’s absolutely singular barbarity. I have extended family relatives whose parents and grandparents actually managed to survive that barbarity by whatever luck, within Germany. The campaigners for (not without reason the perhaps “iconic” bête-noir for the anti-GMO crowd) Monsanto (et al) have learned from Joseph Goebbels’s mistakes, probably aided by a “venerable” US tradition of smoke-filled back-room politicking. And then there is “dear old” Calvin Coolidge (about whom a rooster-and-hen legend also percolates) who stated “the chief business of the American people is business”. Wrong even then. The business of businessmen, not “the people”, and if you have read Mark Twain’s official autobiography (as I have) American business was basically a mix of criminal “businessmen” and corrupt politicians. Perhaps with a short interlude from 1933 to 1981 (a doubtful proposition) the standard modus operandi in the US. Though it is plunging to new depths of putridness under the current administration, beyond even anything Dubya may have dreamed of; one needs to look far and wide in geography and history to find something comparable for the US.

  17. phil rimmer #14
    Jan 6, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Today’s invention.

    A cloud based service of your preferred, ethical, political (local industry, freetrade) purchasing requirements. A repository for all manufacturers e-labeling/use data including batch variations and dating. (useful for unexpected health issues.) Discussion forums with manufacturers input encouraged.

    I don’t think any GMOs have made THIS list yet! – but it is only a matter of time before problems are encountered from released non-native man-made or man-modified organisms, in foreign ecosystems, where they have no evolved balancing mechanisms!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42835528

    The first global register of alien species shows that a fifth of 6,400 plants and animals catalogued are causing harm.

    Some of the biggest factors in their spread are ballast water in ships for marine species and trade in ornamental plants on land, say scientists.

    They released data for 20 countries this week, with the aim of completing the register by the end of the year.

    Invasive species are living things that are not native to an ecosystem.

    They can harm the environment, the economy, or human health.
    For instance, rats can cause bird extinctions on islands, while the crown-of-thorns star fish is smothering parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

    The Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS) provides the first country-wide checklists of introduced and invasive species.

    “The GRIIS is not about any single one of these, but about all of them and about the many thousands of species that have become naturalised outside of their historical ranges across the world as a result of human activity,” said Melodie McGeoch of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group in Rome, Italy.

    “Until now there has been highly uneven distribution of knowledge on invasive species globally.”

    The register will generate information that is publically available on all kinds of invasive species across the world.

    Of the 6,414 species across the 20 countries, more than 80% had evidence of impact in at least one or two countries.

    Cross-border trade and transport are the main drivers of introductions of new species.

    Only by accurately identifying and cataloguing animals and plants on land and at sea can biological invasions be managed, say the researchers.

    The study is published in the journal Scientific Data.

  18. Quoting from the 2003 book “A Devil’s Chaplain”, chapter 1.4 “Science, Genetics and Ethics: Memo for Tony Blair” (from about December 2000), page 29 of my paperback edition.

    “What this means is that there is a case to be made on both sides of the argument, and we need to exercise subtle judgement. The genetic engineers are right that we can save time and trouble by climbing on the back of the millions of years of R & D that Darwinian natural selection has put into developing biological antifreeze [this was about antifreeze tomatoes at the time] (or whatever we are seeking). But the doomsayers would also have a point if they softened their stance from emotional gut rejection to a rational plea for rigorous safety testing. No reputable scientist would oppose such a plea. It is rightly routine for all new products, not just genetically engineered ones.”

    Rigorous safety testing
    Reputable scientist.
    Rightly routine for all new products.

    Would Professor Dawkins, whose writing I admire more than that of any other non-fiction writer, use such terms now, a bit over 17 years later? “Reputable scientist” took a beating with the tobacco industry’s criminal rear-guard “defense” against their product being labelled, not to put too fine a point on it, murderous (and I’m still a tobacco junkie).

    Another issue may be more present (if fading) in Germany, that of the deformation of infants caused by the (primarily) sedative released to the German market in 1958, thalidomide (known in Germany as “Contergan”. In my active competitive table-tennis “career” ending 1996, I once played against a guy who had been damaged by this product. His arms including deformed hands came to just below my elbows, he needed a special grip to be able to handle his TT bat, and it was a tough match to win. We’re talking play level about as far above “ping-pong” leisure players as world championship players were above us. He would have mopped the floor with about 99.99 percent of all people (outside of China) who had ever heard about ping-pong or table-tennis.

    This is way before Monsanto, which is in principle a producer of poisons. The chemical industry (of which the foodstuff-involved Monsantos of the world are a subset) have been throwing artificial (semi-) organic compounds into the environment at a rate that no laboratories testing for potential harmfulness, be they public or private, have the slightest chance of keeping up with. I’m thinking of the (perhaps urban legend) comment of “a teacher” who is puzzled about the amount of homework he has given his pupils, stating that “it will take them an hour to do, maximum!” Yup. But there are at least four, possibly more, other teachers who have given the same pupils “at most an hour to do”.

    That is what has happened with many (but still far too few) of the chemical agents that have entered the environment by companies and which have been examined. Just this one chemical agent is declared “safe” by someone (and the “safety” level has probably been set way too high by corrupt politicians). But nobody has added up the cumulative effects of thousands (if not more) such chemical agents, never mind that they may aggravate each other’s effects. To be totally cynical, the effects of the organized criminal financial sector corrupting everything, lurking behind the likes of Monsanto, may be a “cure” to the massive overpopulation of the planet to challenge AIDS.

  19. I think before anyone takes Monsanto’s preaching on “anti-science” and “morality” seriously, we should look at a few inconvenient truths about its “Round-up-Ready GMO cereals, attitude to damage, and herbicide products!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45288660

    American agro-chemicals company Monsanto is facing a surge in lawsuits that may cost its new owners, Bayer, billions in damages.

    Monsanto manufactures glyphosate-based weedkillers which some believe are carcinogenic.

    Last month it lost a $289m (£225m) court case that alleged its products Roundup and RangerPro had led to a Californian man’s terminal cancer.

    Bayer said the number of outstanding cases had risen from 5,200 to 8,000.

    The German firm’s shares have lost 11% of their value since it lost the case in a California court to groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who claimed Monsanto herbicides containing glyphosate, had caused his non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

    Bayer shares fell another 1.7% on Thursday.

    . . . . the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

    Bayer said it will try to have the Californian verdict reversed and, if that fails, it would take the appeal process further.

    Mr Bauman said the company would defend all the cases brought against Monsanto rather than settle them out of court.

  20. To reinforce my point that the outstanding problem is one of business ethics and coercive business practices that threaten monoculture and the neglect of niche ecological requirements, I got this a few days ago…

    Dear Avaazers,

    We’ve been hit with a 168-page court subpoena from Monsanto.

    We have only days until we’re in court, and they “command” us to hand over every private email, note, or record we have on Monsanto’s chief poison — including the names and email addresses of hundreds of staff, activists, farmers and other allies!!

    This is not the kind of business (given the behaviour of US agribusinesses in the past) such risks can be safely entrusted to.

    I’ve donated to help fight the case.

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