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April 01, 2012
Monsanto Is Green America's Biggest Corporate Fool
    by Robert Kropp

The agribusiness giant triumphs over the US Chamber of Commerce and Chevron for manufacturing genetically modified organisms and a corporate legacy that includes Agent Orange and DDT.

April Fool's Day is upon us, and the designation by Green America of the agribusiness giant Monsanto as the biggest corporate fool in the US begs the question: who is being fooled?

Is it Monsanto, DuPont, and other manufacturers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming preference of Americans for the labeling of food products containing GMOs? A survey published last week reveals that 91% of respondents support such labeling; yet a sha reowner proposal filed at Monsanto this year by Harrington Investments (HII), requesting that the company report on the risks associated with GMOs, was opposed by the company.

When HII introduced its resolution, John Harrington, President and CEO, said, "Just because the United States Department of Agriculture permits a product to be sold, does not mean that it is safe, and as costs of justifying and defending these products mount, investors need adequate information to assess associated financial risks themselves."

Or, considering the fact that GMOs are restricted or banned in many countries, is it the American public being fooled, its demand for labeling of food products with GMOs ignored? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was scheduled to respond to a petition from Just Label It on March 27th, but has not yet done so. In fact, while the campaign states that more than one million people have signed its petition calling on the FDA to mandate food labeling, the agency's method of counting reduced the number of signatures to less than 400.

Organic farmers wishing to produce a sustainable food supply can certainly argue that they have been fooled by Monsanto. A group of more than 50 organic farmers and seed providers filed suit against Monsanto in 2011, arguing that their crops have been contaminated by the company's genetically altered seeds, compromising their livelihoods and leaving them at risk of legal action by an agribusiness giant with a reputation for aggressively pursuing patent infringement lawsuits.

The farmers' lawsuit was dismissed by a US District Court Judge in New York in February, but the group says that it plans to appeal.

In addition to corporate practices that "enable factory farming and put small farmers out of business," Green America stated, Monsanto continues "to push genetically modified crops in the developing world, which results in locking farmers into cycles of debt and dependence on chemical crop inputs."

In honor of Monsanto's dubious award, Green America said it will make a donation in the name of the company's CEO to Navdanya, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that has established 65 community seed banks in India and trained more than five million farmers in sustainable agricultural practices.


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