June 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

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This is one of those times when I run afoul of certain acquaintances who extol everybody to “think for yourself.”

Because I don’t always “think for myself” the way these guys n’ gals want me to.

The topic in question: “genetically modified organism” (aka “GMO” or simply “GM”) food seeds.

I’m not completely against them.

This shouldn’t surprise longtime readers of this venture. I’ve never been an organic vegan purist. I don’t believe in the innate goodness of all things “alternative” or the innate badness of all things “mainstream.”

As “ObamaLover20122” writes at Daily Kos, modern varieties of staple foodstuffs can add nutrients, reduce the need for pesticides, and help alleviate hunger and malnutrition in wide swaths of the world. Anti-GMO campaigns, this blogger insists, are full of conspiracy theory-esque pseudo-science.

And, as Meagan Hatcher-Mays writes at Jezebel, plants and animals have been selectively bred by humans for just about ever. (Corn/maize was so thoroughly domesticated by the Western Hemisphere’s pre-Euro humans that it can’t even reproduce in the wild.)

It doesn’t help that the outfit most closely associated with GMOs is Monsanto, the “radical” left’s current #1 corporate bogeyman (replacing Wal-Mart, which replaced Nike).

Monsanto was originally a chemical company, involved in everything from plastics and synthetic carpet fibers to the infamous herbicide Agent Orange. In the 1980s it started to make commercial crop seeds that would be especially receptive to its pesticides. Today, agribusiness is its only business.

It’s pursued this business with a “biotech” business model, something known to anyone who’s followed the doing of local drug-development companies. This model is big on patents and other “intellectual property” as the big assets, the big prizes.

Many of the boardroom-based brutalities Monsanto’s been (often rightly) accused of stem from this obsession with Profit Through Patent (such as litigating against small farmers who didn’t even deliberately put Monsanto-owned genes into their crops).

Other Monsanto corporate sins (industrial-waste dumping, f’r instance) are the product of similar them-that’s-got-the-gold-makes-the-rules corporate groupthink.

In short, Monsanto makes it really easy to hate ’em.

And that’s just what folks are doing, across the to-the-left-of-Obama end of the political spectrum.

One part of that crusade has been the dissemination of boycott lists online.

This documents and “meme graphics” purport to list, without documentation, “Monsanto-owned” food products you shouldn’t buy. Various versions of the lists include dozens and dozens of famous supermarket-shelf names.

The only thing is, Monsanto owns NO consumer food-product brands.



They’re not in that end of the business.

Many big food processors have probably bought grains and other crops from big agribusiness farms that have bought Monsanto seeds and/or pesticides.

But there’s no real telling who, or for which products.

And even the “GMO labeling” bills now going through several state and national legislative bodies won’t make it certain, thanks to the same natural processes whereby the aforementioned small farmers ended up with GMO genes in their crops.

So go ahead and hate Monsanto for its documented bullying tactics.

But don’t blindly hate all GMO projects.

And don’t blindly hate the entire non-PCC food universe.

One Response  
  • Art Marriott AKA "ArtFart" writes:
    June 17th, 201312:16 pmat

    If you’re looking for a group not completely opposed to GMO’s, try the millions of diabetics whose lives depend on synthetic human insulin cooked up in batches of genetically-engeered E. Coli.

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