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Posts Tagged ‘genetically modified’

Beta vulgaris L.

This is a pile of sugar beets. You see these piles in the corner of many fields this time of year. Second to carbonated water, sugar is the most important ingredient in soft drinks. There is a Coca-Cola factory here in Knetzgau. The factory is a major employer in the area. I suppose a lot of the beets grown around here are destined to end up in a bottle. Cans are not very environmentally friendly and unpopular in Germany for this reason.

Monsanto, one of the world’s leading evils, has genetically modified the lowly sugar beet to be resistant Roundup which, like Agent Orange, is a herbicide. Now growers can plant the beets, spray the s*** out of the fields with Roundup, and harvest the only thing that remains. Kind of a “last man standing” method of farming.

Sugar from the biotechnology-enhanced sugar beet has been approved for human and animal consumption in the European Union. On September 21, 2009, a federal court ruled that the USDA had violated federal law in deregulating Roundup Ready sugar beets without adequately evaluating the environmental and socio-economic impacts of allowing commercial production, and will be considering an appropriate injunction.

How could the EU approve use of this genetically modified sugar source when even the business friendly U.S. courts have found inadequate evaluation of the impact this product can have on the environment and the population? Beets me.

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peregrine-illo---seeds

The agriculture giant Monsanto is answering questions “about its marketing tactics in the biotech seed industry.” The Justice Department, along with Iowa and Texas, is investigating allegations Monsanto wants to control the industry, squeezing out smaller companies. DuPont (Remember “Better Living Through Chemistry“? It’s now “The miracles of science“) and Syngenta AG (“Bringing plant potential to life“) are Monsanto rivals and have been interviewed. Come on! DuPont surely understands business is war, and war is business. Justice can investigate all day Monsanto’s business practices, and may even find violations of law. This investigation is probably nothing more that a politically motivated attempt to shake a few more lobbying dollars out of a genetically modified tree. Then Congress can change the laws to make it right.

Any company is in business to make money. Altruism isn’t a corporate priority, only the appearance of doing good. All those smarmy adds about feeding the world only hide what should be obvious. As the world becomes dependent on a cheap, genetically modified food supply, that is all we’ll have. And when Monsanto is sitting on the only bag of seeds available, what will it cost?

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