If any of you have ever had a food-conscious, ethically inspired high school teacher, I’m sure you watched Food, Inc. as you entered your post-adolescent idealistic phase. I don’t know about you, but I’m almost positive everyone who watched this their senior year was a vegetarian due to some serious group think that took over the next three days. That is of course until the cafeteria had delicious dino-shaped chicken nuggets, right? Well, if you remember anything about the documentary, you remember the monstrous multi-national company Monsanto.
Monsanto is an agricultural biotech corporation that claims to have the needs of farmers in mind at all times. A clip from Food, Inc. gives one example of the monopoly Monsanto has on farms because of their genetically modified crops. One section says, “In 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the U.S. contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contained Monsanto’s patented gene.” If you watch it, it’s not necessarily the farmers’ best interests they have in mind.
This week, President Obama signed a bill that was co-written by Monsanto and that will (spoiler alert) benefit Monsanto. It’s called by its non-supporters the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’. Monsanto’s genetically modified crops have revolutionized the farming world and food industry. Without their products being fully tested, however, it’s too soon to say if the food they produce has serious health risks to consumers. What’s more, they found a political loophole that doesn’t force them to properly label genetically engineered food, a freedom that is embedded in this bill. Obama ignored a petition of 250,000 signatures conducted by Food Democracy Now, a food safety advocacy group, and is now facing serious backlash from them and other advocacy groups. All people want is some transparency in the food industry, is that too much to ask for?
Why do you think Obama signed this? Should more research be done on the health risks of Monsanto’s products? What can be done now?