You've probably heard of the giant Biotech Company Monsanto in relation to genetically modified food, seeds, lawsuits, and poisonous products. Most likely what you’ve heard is not positive and that’s because this company has been causing harm to friends, family and the earth.
Just to give you a little history of the background of this company and their moral compass, they are the producers of Agent Orange. This was the toxic substance that was sprayed from planes by the US military during the wars that took place in 1960-1971. The substance killed over 400,000 people and created hundreds of thousands of birth defects eventually affecting more than 3 million people.
Monsanto's response in a press statement about Agent Orange claimed that it really wasn't that dangerous! Killing and mutilating millions of people with no conscience, taking zero responsibility, and continuing to create more damage is the epitome of evil.
The big questions we should be asking are why does Monsanto still have so much power after all the damage they have done? Why do they continue to prosper? Why are their products still being sold in stores? Lastly, what can we as consumers do to protect ourselves, or create a change in this industry?
Over the course of this company's history, they have produced many crops, mostly focusing on corn, soy, and cotton. Evidence shows that their genetically modified crops cause infertility and cancer in livestock. They have destroyed the farming industry with over 250,000 farmers committing suicide in India, as well as farmers in the US being pushed out of their livelihoods or forced to only grow genetically modified crops which Monsanto owns the patent. It is also against the law to save any of the former year's seeds and use them. In 1996, Monsanto created a monster by selling crops that were genetically modified (GMO) so they would be able to tolerate highly toxic glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Roundup. They called these ‘Roundup ready’ crops and usually consisted of corn, soybean and cotton. It allowed farmers to spray their crops with these harmful chemicals which killed the weeds around them and kept the crops alive. These chemicals also cause damage to the soil and pollute the local water supply poisoning communities across the globe.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its classification of glyphosate to “probably carcinogenic to humans”, in part because the chemical has been shown to cause cancer in research animals.
3 studies were performed in finding damaged DNA in cells that caused mutations, and an excess amount of tumors which eventually led to cancer in mice.
What is the main ingredient in Roundup that makes it so toxic?
In 1974, Monsanto introduced Glyphosate which is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant that is used mainly for agriculture by farmers, but also by homeowners, groundskeepers and anywhere that needs weed control. It didn’t get popular until 1996 when it gained recognition for the ‘Roundup Ready’ genetically modified seeds that could withstand being sprayed with this harmful chemical and not die.
As we covered in our blog post about how to avoid toxins and chemicals in coffee, glyphosate’s dangers include; damage to DNA, according to Fabio Gomes, an expert working at the Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA). “Even in small doses, glyphosate can cause cancer twenty to thirty years later”, says Gomes.
Speaking of coffee, did you know that coffee is the number one pesticide sprayed crop in the world? That’s because coffee beans are so expensive compared to other crops, farmers will do everything it takes to protect their crops from various pests using pesticides and the use of fertilizers to help them grow.
Most recently, in 2020 Monsanto's parent company Bayer, the giant German chemical and pharmaceutical company, was found guilty and was ordered to pay $10 billion dollars in damages for lawsuits alleging that Monsanto's products made people sick.
The obvious prevalence of evidence that Roundup causes cancer has caused many countries, such as Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Scotland, and Poland, among many others, to completely ban the product. Other countries like Mexico are phasing it out by 2024.
Why is Roundup still being sold?
How is it possible Roundup is still being sold at Target, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Lowe's, and Home Depot in this country? What is also disturbing is influential figures in this country like Bill Gates own as much as $23 million of stock in Monsanto… How can someone claim they want the best for this country and its people and then profit from the poisoning of its citizens? Why doesn't the government who supposedly has its citizen’s best interest at heart create a legislature that protects the population?
The simple answer is that these billion-dollar companies pay lobbyists to promote laws in their favor, and corruption is prevalent. One example, President Obama signing into law in 2013 the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, otherwise known as the “Monsanto Protection Act” Which stripped the government of any ability to prosecute Monsanto regardless of any health risks it had caused. Michael Taylor who is the former Vice President for Public Safety at Monsanto is now one of the main execs in the FDA, appointed in 2009 by Obama. The same person who promoted genetically modified food and toxic products as a representative of Monsanto is now in a position to approve said products being created by Monsanto…You can't make this stuff up!
These are the main reasons why the government allows the sale of Round-up in this country to continue and doesn't require them to put a warning label on it! The Grocery Manufacturers Association (Industry giants including Monsanto, Dow, Kraft, Kellogs, Campbells, Smuckers, Pepsi-Cola, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola and General Mills) is in the process of trying to force states to pass a bill that will not allow foods to be labeled when they are genetically modified. Because of this, as a consumer, you'll never know whether what you are eating is genetically modified or not.
In Europe, mandatory GMO labeling has been in effect since 1997, we need to follow suit! Luckily some states like Vermont are fighting back refusing to allow these laws to be passed in their state. Hopefully, if a precedent is set in one state the other states can follow. But until then, it falls on us to be conscious of what we consume in order to protect our health.
What can we do as consumers to avoid GMOs and pesticides in our food?
One huge thing we can do is check where the products we consume are coming from and boycott products from any of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto, using this app buycott.com/
Use the EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ and Dirty Dozen™ as a shopping guide to finding the best fresh or frozen organic and non-organic produce.
According to the EWG websites, they state that their “2021 Shopper’s Guide ranks the pesticide contamination of 46 popular fruits and vegetables. It is based on the results of more than 46,000 samples of produce tested by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that consuming produce high in pesticide residues (like the items on our Dirty Dozen™) increases the risk of certain negative health impacts and that choosing organic can have almost immediate impacts on the amount of residues in a person’s body.”
Also, deciding not to invest in the stocks of these companies, writing to your Congressperson to voice your opinion, stop buying non-organic processed foods, shop at farmers markets, patronize local neighborhood grocers, cook your own food at home instead of buying processed prepackaged foods, or order meal prep from a non-GMO organic company like Renew plant-based meal delivery startrenew.com/.
In your own gardening use only OMRI-approved products which means they are safe for organic use. You can also join or donate to the Organic Consumers Association, and spread the seed of knowledge in your own circles by talking about this issue so more people will know about it!
The main takeaway is that even though fruits and vegetables are healthy and we NEED them for the vital nutrients that they give us, we should be buying organic produce whenever possible to protect you and your family's health. If organic is not an option because of cost, then try to stick to the Clean Fifteen™ list.
Remember that our health is everything in this life, without our health, we have nothing!
If you enjoyed this article and want to dive deeper into other topics on how to avoid toxins in our food that could cause you to get sick which could potentially lead to cancer or are disrupting your hormones and preventing you from losing weight, then I encourage you to dive into these articles on our blog:
Why is There Arsenic in Rice and How to Reduce It
What's in Your Coffee? How to Avoid Coffee Toxins and Harmful Pesticides
Why You Should Stop Buying Almond Milk + How to Make Almond Milk
Is Teflon Safe? The Truth About Nonstick Cookware
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