◊ By Karin Heinze; Photo ©Karin Heinze
TThe organisation March Against Monsanto #MAM announced that 2018 May 19th will be the date for the 7th international March Against Monsanto grassroots campaign. The global events will take place in hundreds of cities on six continents with the objective to further educate and raise awareness about Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and the increasingly toxic food supply, as well as its merger with the German pesticide, GMO and pharmaceutical giant Bayer.
Monsanto-Bayer Merger in Focus
One of the focal points of this year’s March will be the Bayer merger, which was recently approved by U.S. antitrust regulators despite widespread concerns from civil organisations, family farmers, and environmental scientists, informs March Against Monsanto. The merger is expected to create a new company that will control more than a quarter of the world’s seeds and pesticides, consolidating unprecedented power over our food system into the hands of one foreign-based multinational corporation.
A recent poll conducted by two former attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Divison found that over 93% of farmers are concerned about the Monsanto-Bayer merger, and over 82% are “very concerned”. Their top three concerns are increased market dominance to push additional products, excessive control over farmers’ data, and increased pressure to become reliant on chemical based farming practices.
Status Quo Update for Glyphosate
Another focus of this year’s March will be on glyphosate, the controversial active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, which was declared a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. After months of legal battles, the state of California recently won the right to force Monsanto to place a cancer warning label on its products, in accordance with the IARC’s previous ruling. Yet this herbicide is still being sprayed in massive amounts and has been detected in air and rain samples, the breast milk of nursing mothers, childhood vaccines, prenatal vitamins, and baby formula, even as over 2,400 cancer related lawsuits have been filed against the St Louis, Missouri based company.
Glyphosate use has increased 16-fold since the mid-1990s according to U.S. Geological Survey Data. “Monsanto’s glyphosate has contaminated every facet of our lives. The cancer-causing herbicide has been detected in the air we breathe and many of the organic foods we eat. Our children are directly targeted as is evidenced by the discovery of glyphosate in vaccines, breast milk, and baby formulas. We must rise up and stop this toxic nightmare or we will see generations of overwhelming sickness and premature death like never before,” said Tami Canal, the founder of March Against Monsanto.
Massive Investment in CRISPR
In addition to pesticides and the Bayer merger, the March will also focus on Monsanto’s recent $125 million investment in CRISPR, the controversial genetic modification technique that allows scientists to “play God” by editing our favourite food crops quicker and easier in the lab than ever before. Because of this new technology, several novel foods are being created including a genetically engineered apple that doesn’t turn brown, genetically engineered potatoes, and more. Some worry that CRISPR GMO foods may become the new standard on grocery store shelves. In keeping with past protocol, these foods won’t be labeled, and haven’t been independently studied for their long term health effects on humans.
Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Step Down
According to an article in March Against Monsanto, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant is willing to step down from his current position. He rose to his current post back in 2003, and has since overseen the company through everything from high earnings to market domination to countless protests and lawsuits against it.
Bayer executive Liam Condon will now take over the Monsanto Company, and will lead a combined new mega division comprised of minds from both companies’ GMO crop divisions, which will be known as ‘crop sciences’.
This article was first published on www.organic-market.info – Online Magazine for Organic Trade
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