You may have heard of the Monsanto controversy. The leading producer of genetically engineered seeds has a gained a bad reputation that is almost impossible to wash off. What exactly lies behind the accusations and the scandals that revolve around the famous GMO company? Here’s your chance to find out more about the Monsanto controversy and their ever-feared genetically modified organisms.
What does Monsanto do?
Officially, Monsanto is just another international agriculture and biotechnology corporation. At the same time, it is one of the most controversial companies in the United States, the Monsanto controversy actually being spread across the globe because of its production of genetically engineered seeds.
You may have also heard about Monsanto’s Roundup products. The biotechnology corporation is the leading producer of the herbicide that kills everything but genetically engineered crops.
Why Is Monsanto Bad? The Monsanto Controversy
The Monsanto company history takes us back to 1901 when it was founded as a chemical company. Ever since then, the biotech corporation has been surrounded by intrigue. It is believed that Monsanto is responsible for some of the most harmful toxins in the United States history. The chemicals still have a worldwide impact. Over the last couple of years, the company has settled a significant number of lawsuits, as studies have linked Monsanto’s Roundup insecticides to a few irreversible diseases and a wide range of health problems.
But Monsanto is no stranger to suing as well. The company’s lawyers are known for the efforts they make to track down farmers and file lawsuits against anyone who replants Monsanto seeds. You may have read about the 75-year-old soybean farmer from Indiana, named Vernon Hugh Bowman, who was ordered to pay the corporation $85,000 in damages. Why? The farmer was found guilty of using second-generation seeds that were modified with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready. And it is by no means a singular event. The company has always taken advantage of their right to sue farmers unlucky enough to have their fields contaminated with Monsanto seeds.
But American farmers are not the only ones suffering because of Monsanto’s policies. GMO crops are advertised as a means towards sustainable agriculture that could decrease world hunger. Instead, GMOs have replaced organic farming with globalization. It is reported that every 30 minutes, an Indian farmer commits suicide because of the inability to purchase the expensive seeds and pesticides produced by Monsanto. Only in the last 10 years, over 250,000 Indian farmers are said to have committed suicide as a result of GM crops.
The corporation is also taking ownership of water supplies. Monsanto is one of the many companies purchasing rights to public water (groundwater and aquifers). But more disturbing than the privatization of our water resources is the fact that the company has been accused of dumping toxic chemicals into worldwide waters. Toxic waste such as PCBs and Roundup’s dioxin and glyphosate are reportedly polluting the water resources of various nations across the globe. And as if this wasn’t enough, Monsanto proceeded to filter the contaminated water and sell it to the public.
The company is also refusing to pay compensations to the families of the Vietnamese civilians poisoned with Monsanto’s Agent Orange. The dioxin in the chemical called Agent Orange is known as one of the most poisonous chemicals in the world. Scientific studies have shown how the dioxin is responsible for neurological disorders, birth defects, and even death.
Monsanto is responsible for producing 72 million liters of Agent Orange that was ultimately discharged on over 4.8 million Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The damage caused by the poisonous dioxin is immense. More than 400,000 Vietnamese civilians died or suffered injuries, and over half a million children were born with birth defects. Yet so far, the agrochemical corporation has not paid any compensation to the Vietnamese civilians. What’s even more perplexing is the company’s continuous claim that the dioxin in Agent Orange is not toxic, despite all evidence pointing otherwise.
Monsanto is also accused of conflict of interest. Former executives now run the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a twist of irony, the agency that should be ensuring food safety is being managed by former Monsanto employees. It is believed that the lack of research on the long-term consequences of using genetically modified products is in direct connection with the presumably corrupt governmental system.
Although the agrochemical corporation markets itself as a being a sustainable agriculture company, there is more evidence pointing into exactly the opposite direction than what we are led to believe. Since Monsanto promotes pesticide resistance, it is more naturally to assume that the company is, in fact, standing in the way of sustainable agriculture. Herbicide use, apart from causing health problems, perpetuate gene contamination because genetically modified organisms tend to find their way into non-GMO crops.
Finally, it is hard for farmers to make the right, informed decisions. Monsanto has also been accused of influencing the media. The company is said to have killed research unfavorable to their products. Such was the case of a story about the harmful effects of the milk produced by cows given the controversial rBGH. The Bovine Growth Hormone is presumably linked to various types of cancer, diabetes, and other health issues.