Monday, November 30, 2009
FRANCE SUPREME COURT FINDS MONSANTO GUILTY OF FRAUD
France's highest court has ruled that U.S. agrochemical giant Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of its best-selling weed-killer, Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as "biodegradable" and claimed it "left the soil clean." Roundup is the world's best-selling herbicide.
French environmental groups had brought the case in 2001 on the basis that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, is classed as "dangerous for the environment" by the European Union.
In the latest ruling, France's Supreme Court upheld two earlier convictions against Monsanto by the Lyon criminal court in 2007, and the Lyon court of appeal in 2008, the AFP news agency reports.
Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics, including ruthless legal battles against small farmers, is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Monsanto is a very dark cloud hanging over the future of health and food safety in the United States. This powerful entity has already managed so many reprehensible acts it boggles the mind, including:
Leading the world into a new age of potentially hazardous genetic modification of seeds.
Patenting not only their own GMO seeds, but also a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time -- without a vote of the people or Congress.
Not allowing farmers to save their seeds to replant the next year -- a practice that has been done for generations. Instead, they aggressively seek out and sue farmers they suspect of doing so.
Suing farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of Monsanto’s GE pollen or seed onto their land for patent infringement!
Producing two of the most toxic substances ever known -- polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, and dioxin (Agent Orange).
Now France's highest court has confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto falsely advertised its Roundup herbicide as "biodegradable" and said it "left the soil clean" -- claims that could not be further from the truth.
The Reality about Roundup
Monsanto long used the slogans, “It's Safer than Mowing," "Biodegradable," and “Environmentally Friendly" to describe Roundup -- until the real effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is the most commonly reported cause of pesticide illness among landscape maintenance workers in California. Additionally:
The surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself, and the combination of the two is even more toxic.
Glyphosate is suspected of causing genetic damage.
Glyphosate is acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance.
Laboratory studies have identified adverse effects of glyphosate-containing products in all standard categories of toxicological testing.
In one animal study, rats given 1,000 mg/kg of glyphosate resulted in a 50 percent mortality rate, and skeletal alterations were observed in over 57 percent of fetuses!
This is very concerning because millions of pounds of Roundup are used every year on U.S. gardens, lawns and farms, especially on GM crops that are engineered to be Roundup resistant. Roundup works by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSP synthase, which is necessary for plants to grow. Without it, plants are unable to produce essential proteins so they slowly yellow and die.
Monsanto developed a cash cow when they created not only Roundup, but also their genetically modified “Roundup Ready” crops.
Roundup Ready soybean, cotton and corn crops are the world’s largest group of genetically modified crops. In fact, the GM Roundup Ready gene is part of more than 75 percent of soybeans, 65 percent of cotton and 10 percent of corn grown in the United States.
This particular variety of GM crops became so popular because it allows farmers to spray Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide directly onto their fields without harming the crops. Ordinarily, if you were to spray Roundup, or any other glyphosate-based herbicide, onto a plant, it would die.
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, however, produce an enzyme that has the same function as EPSP synthase, but is not affected by Roundup.
As you might imagine, the use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced, and serious problems have been reported ever since.
Roundup Residues are Toxic
It’s widely known that GM Roundup Ready crops, which are very common in the United States, contain Roundup residues. A study published earlier this year even showed, for the first time, just how toxic these residues may be to your health.
The study found that residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed can cause cell damage and death, even at very low levels. The authors of the study said their research "... points to undesirable effects which are currently masked or hidden from scientific scrutiny."
Even when researchers tested formulations of Roundup that were highly diluted (up to 100,000 times or more) on human cells, the cells died within 24 hours.
They also found damage to cell membranes and DNA, along with an inhibition of cell respiration.
Further, the researchers discovered that the mixture of components used as Roundup adjuvants actually amplified the action of the glyphosate, making at least one of its metabolites even more toxic. The researchers wrote:
“This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from Roundup formulation-treated crops.”
With findings like these, you can see just how outrageous Monsanto’s claims really were. Roundup is not “biodegradable,” safe or in any way good for people or the environment.
Not by a long shot.
Monsanto’s Sordid Past
It does not come as a surprise that Monsanto lied about Roundup, given their extremely under-handed track record. There is easily enough “dirt” on Monsanto to fill an entire book.
Perhaps their biggest assault to your food supply is what’s known as terminator technology. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.
The implications that terminator seeds could have on the world’s food supply are disastrous: the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply!
Monsanto -- the convicted liar’s club -- has also worked its way into varying high-level positions in the U.S. government, ironically in positions that are meant to protect your food safety!
The New Senior Advisor for the FDA is a Former Monsanto VP!
Michael Taylor, a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company, is the new senior advisor for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Who is Michael Taylor? He is the person who “oversaw the creation of GMO policy,” according to Jeffrey Smith, the leading spokesperson on the dangers of GM foods.
“If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist.”
The FDA policy being referred to is the 1992 GMO policy, which stated:
"The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods [genetic engineering] differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."
In reality, there was major concern among FDA scientists that GM foods were in fact different than natural foods, and that their creation could prompt unknown and unpredictable health problems.
Along with being a key player in the initial pushing of GM foods onto Americans’ plates (without any required safety studies), Taylor also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST).
This growth hormone, which has been banned in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand because of cancer risks and other health concerns, was approved in the United States while Taylor was in charge at the FDA. Smith writes:
“Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.”
Taylor’s white paper, which again was untrue as even FDA scientists acknowledged differences in the rbGH milk, allowed Monsanto to sue dairies that labeled their products rbGH-free.
Unfortunately, the connections do not end there. You can find out more about all of Monsanto’s key players who are now part of the Obama administration here.
You Can Fight Back Against Monsanto
By boycotting all GM foods and instead supporting organic (and local) farmers who do not use Monsanto’s GM seeds, you are using your wallet to make your opinions known. This means abstaining from virtually all processed food products (most are loaded with GM ingredients) and sticking to fresh, locally grown, organic foodstuffs instead.
Monsanto reported a fourth quarter loss of $233 million in October 2009, largely due to a drop in sales of its Roundup brand -- so I am confident that many are wising up to the underhanded dealings of this evil company.
If you want to help keep Monsanto from expanding their stronghold on the world’s food supply, please also continue to stay informed.
Monsanto is the poster child for manipulation and corporate greed, so please, forward this article on to your circle of influence, and make the choice to boycott any product that this unethical company is associated with.