Monsanto may be expanding its operations in the United States, but elsewhere, lawmakers, scientists, activists and ordinary citizens are increasingly questioning (and in many cases banning) the introduction of GM crops, along with the use of the glyphosate herbicide (Monsanto’s Roundup).
State consumer protection ministers in Germany are advocating an EU-wide ban on glyphosate herbicides in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) categorization of the chemical as “probably carcinogenic.”
On May 8, the German state ministers introduced a resolution calling for “the supply to and use by private persons to be banned for precautionary reasons.” The resolution also recommends prohibiting use of the herbicide near consumers.
Christian Meyer, chairman of the Consumer Protection Minister Conference, said: “This pesticide should not be found in gardens, parks or on children’s playgrounds. I also do not think use in private gardens is appropriate.”
Unfortunately, the German federal government sees “no need for action,” according to the news website EurActiv.com.
This latest battle between those who recognize the dangers associated with glyphosate use and those who seek to protect the immensely powerful and profitable GMO agriculture industry as a whole reflects the global controversy surrounding the technology.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that the German federal authorities see no reason to take action, particularly when one considers the fact that two of the biggest players in the industry — Bayer and BASF — are German firms. As in the U.S., it can be assumed that these corporations have considerable influence on the “opinions” and actions of the German federal government.
The struggle over the GMO industry and its promotion of the use of glyphosate has typically played out along these lines throughout the world in various countries and situations. The biotech firms do their best to spread pro-GMO propaganda, often through enlisting the press to ridicule those who oppose it and, of course, buying influence over politicians.
The industry has managed to hoodwink the American public through lobbying and propaganda to the point where, as of now, glyphosate pesticides are sprayed on 84 percent of the major U.S. crops, including corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beets and canola/rapeseed.
However, the fight against the GMO industry continues to make headway, both in the U.S. and abroad. There is fierce opposition to the use of these technologies, and even in the face of massive pressure on the part of the industry, some progress has been made towards halting its spread.
Currently, there are 64 countries which require GMO labelling on foods. Many European nations, including France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and others have banned GMO crops. Australia, Russia and India have also banned GMOs.
In the United States, food labelling bills are currently being introduced in several states. Vermont has already passed a law requiring GMO labelling.
But the influence of the industry on governments and the press is formidable. A case in point was the media reaction to the recent announcement by the Chipotle restaurant chain that they would begin excluding GMO products from their menu. The admirable decision on the part of the popular American chain was immediately met with derision and ridicule on the part of the media, with accusations of “capitulating to ‘scare tactics’ of the anti-GMO lobby to increase burrito sales.”
The L.A. Times went as far as accusing Chipotle of joining “the ranks of companies that endeavor to deceive the public.”
As far as many of us are concerned, the real deception has been on the part of the GMO industry, along with the politicians and presstitutes who have willingly become their servants.
The battle is far from over, and although there has been some encouraging progress towards the banning of GM crops and the use of glyphosate, there remains much to be done.
Ordinary citizens must let it be known that they do not support the industry. Only 37 percent of the American public believe that GMOs are safe, and polls have repeatedly shown that up to 90 percent of Americans want GMO labelling.