By Ruth Conniff
Monsanto, the giant agribusiness and pesticide company, has just caused a major disruption in the world wheat market because of its experiments with genetically modified foods.
As the Washington Post reported, "Japan, the largest market for U.S. wheat exports, suspended imports from the United States and canceled a major purchase of white wheat on Thursday after the recent discovery of unapproved genetically modified wheat in an 80-acre field in Oregon."
This concocted strain of wheat "was developed by Monsanto to make wheat resistant to the company's own industry-leading weed killer," the Post reported. "Monsanto tested the type of altered seed in more than a dozen states, including Oregon, between 1994 and 2005, but it was never approved for commercial use."
The current wheat problem is typical of the havoc that Monsanto wreaks.
It introduces these GMO plants, which can take on a life of their own.
And the company's entire business plan is to swamp farmers with its products, and then require farmers to buy the company's patented seeds and pesticides.
It has crushed small farmers in the United States, subsistence corn producers in Mexico, soybean growers in Brazil, and cotton farmers in India.
And the health and environmental safety of Monsanto's products are also dubious.
Nevertheless, this spring, Congress passed what critics call "The Monsanto Protection Act," allowing companies to go ahead and plant their GMO crops even while they are being legally challenged.
The Executive Branch has also been doing Monsanto's bidding.
As the group Food and Water Watch has revealed, with help from WikiLeaks, the State Department has been busy peddling Monsanto products overseas.
Though the U.S. government supports Monsanto, millions of people around the world oppose the company and its products.
That's why consumers, environmentalists, organic farmers, advocates of democracy, and critics of corporate power came together for a historic, coordinated protest against Monsanto in more than 30 countries last Saturday, May 25th.
For more information, go to www.march-against-monsanto.com.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Bachmann Runs Over Facts in Farewell.
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