Monsanto Threatens Europe
Industrial Food Giants Bully European Lawmakers
Is Monsanto waging war on the European Union? The notion isn’t as daft as you may think.
Genetically modified (GM) crops have pervaded the U.S. food supply for nearly twenty years, albeit incrementally and often inconspicuously.
But the European Union has shown much stronger resolve and skepticism against GM crops. As a result, mega-corporations like Monsanto haven’t made much headway into the European food supply.
Now, however, the EU is saying that they’ll change their position on GM crops and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), allowing foods to contain genetically modified components below certain levels.
Curiously, this comes just after a similar decision made last year, which permitted the incorporation of GM crops in animal feeds.
This is exactly the sort of incremental shift toward GMOs we observed here in the U.S. The question is, what’s going on with the EU’s change of mind?
It looks like the prime suspects here are the U.S. government, the World Trade Organization, and Monsanto.
According to the New American, Mercola.com cites U.S. diplomatic cables that indicate clear instances of collusion between Monsanto and the U.S. government to exert pressure on Europe in this matter.
And Monsanto appears to have government allies. Remember when the Senate voted against a farm bill amendment that would require labeling GMOs in food?
Craig Stapleton, former U.S. ambassador to France, was quoted by the New American, supporting the spread of GMOs:
“Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy, and even the [European] Commission…. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”
Several years back, France had requested a European Commission-backed suspension on MON810, a Monsanto Crop. Germany banned it, too. However, the European Union opposed the motion and denied the ban.
Over in the UK, the Agriculture Biotechnology Council (ABC) published a report, “Going for Growth,” that strongly advocates GMOs as the route to advancing the region’s agricultural interests.
ABC is not really a government organization, as the New American notes, but the Council lobbies for Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont, and numerous other biotechnological companies.
The problems with GMOs are, of course, well-known by now. The New American quotes Mercola.com:
Two years ago, the Food Freedom blog reported that the Irish government accidentally planted Monsanto's Roundup Ready GM maize, which was, and still is, banned in Ireland. The contaminated seeds had been supplied by Pioneer Hi-Bred Northern Europe, a subsidiary of DuPont. To protect surrounding farmers and organic farms, the contaminated maize crops were destroyed before flowering, to prevent pollen drift. However, there's still no telling the full extent of the GM contamination. After all, it was only discovered through random testing. The seed had been verified as "GM-free" by Pioneer Hi-Bred.
The food wars have a long way to go.