Saw an excellent documentary yesterday called the Future of food which provides an in depth look into genetically modified food and the nexus that big companies , specifically Monsanto in the film , have with the highest political levels.
Genetically modified food and Monsanto go hand in hand as Monsanto developed genetically modified food for the first time. Monsanto started as a chemicals industry with a number of patents to their name including saccharin and agent orange . Their foray into the food industry began with Roundup , a broad spectrum herbicide . Soon after Monsanto got into genetically engineered seeds which were engineered to withstand Roundup . So in principle if you sprayed a field of Monsanto cropp wtih Roundup , everything else but the crop would perish . In principle this sounds great , to a certain extent it works as well and then things start to get dirty . It begins with the patenting of GE (genetically engineered) seeds . Once Monsanto holds a patent on it if John Doe wants their product he has to pay for it . Traditionally farmers stored their own seed , ready for the next planting but the patent Monsanto holds makes them buy the seed everytime they plant .Replanting the seeds would lead to John Doe being sued . Then it gets dirtier . If a few seeds find their way to a field which doesn't plant Monsanto , Monsanto can come and claim that the the framer is using their seed illegally , whcih means fines , penalties etc . And's whats more , since the crop is indistinguishable from traditional strains even the seed for susequent years can be contaminated and hence it is not possible to keep your own seed .
All through this Monsanto is helped along in its goal by dubious judgements in the highest courts of law , the whole issue of testing the crop is circumvented by employing ex employees of Monsanto in the role of the wachdog . John Ashcroft , Donald Rumsfeld are a couple of names among many others that crop as being direct benefecieries of Monsano largesse , either in ways of election funds or being employees of Monsanto at a certain point in history .
Definately a must see .