Truth – Monsanto has engineered numerous crops (soybeans, sugar beets, etc.) that won’t die when sprayed with its herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), which kills all other plants in the vicinity. However, Roundup-resistant “super weeds” have now emerged like a plague. As of 2011 are infesting millions of acres of American cropland. Monsanto’s answer? Use more Roundup and other chemicals, which leads us to …
Monsanto’s Claim – GMO (Roundup-ready) crops reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides in farming.
Truth – Studies show that Roundup-ready crops (soy, corn and cotton, in particular) have massively increased the use of glyphosate and other chemicals by an estimated 318 million more pounds in the first 13 years since GMOs were introduced … and that’s just until 2008. Millions more Roundup-ready crops have been planted in the last four years.
Monsanto’s Claim – Monsanto is producing drought-resistant crops.
Truth – The only Monsanto product approved by the USDA is a gene called DroughtGuard. The USDA reports that DroughtGuard only works under moderate drought conditions, and even then produces only modest results. The agency estimated that corn engineered with the DroughtGuard gene would only increase the U.S. crop by about one percent.
Monsanto’s Claim – Monsanto is producing species with higher nutrition to address world hunger.
Truth – Even the most highly publicized Monsanto product – Golden Rice, which is touted as to addressing vitamin A deficiency in the Third World, has never been commercially grown. This is even after 10 years of research. In fact, no such “nutritionally enhanced” GMO foods have ever been available on the market.
Monsanto’s Claim – Monsanto’s products make life better for farmers.
Truth – One grisly example of how this is not true: Monsanto’s Bt cotton, engineered to kill all species of bollworms, was introduced to India’s farmers in 2002. In the first few years, crop yields went up, and farmers prospered. Soon farmers found themselves trapped between Monsanto’s rising costs for the GM seeds and pesticides needed when the pests began coming back, and cotton’s falling prices. In despair, according to press reports, they began killing themselves by drinking the pesticide or hanging themselves. In the Vidarbha region, in the state of Maharashtra, more than 8,200 farmers have taken their lives in the last 10 years. Dr. Sudam Adsule, that region’s Director of Inputs and Quality Control, told the Hindustan Times, “Bt cotton seed has played a key role in the Vidarbha farm suicide saga since June 2005.”
Across India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1995.
A recent Monsanto advertising campaign in Washington, D.C. used the slogan “Improving Agriculture, Improving Lives.” We’re still waiting for the evidence, and stunned at the evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, there is a growing body of evidence showing that genetically modified crops, and the foods they go into, are not as safe as their makers would have us believe. More on that later.