Consumers influence officials and corporate execs toward pro-health and pro-sustainability actions and attitudes

Enjoy listening to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony while reading.

International response for glyphosate is moving along providing credence to those who are against the international trade deals. In May India decided to tightened rules for the sale of genetically-modified cotton seeds in a move that will cap royalties. Since Glyphosate kills all variety of plants, except for those that are artificially and genetically modified the crops in India now comprise 90% of all crops. After local farmers, regions and states complained about the financially abusive pricing by Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of both Glyphosate Weedkillers and Weedkiller resistant seeds the government finally acted. From now on the seed prices are held at 800 rupees ($11.87) for a packet of 450 grams nearly one pound. In a country where you can hire a full time maid for an entire week for three dollars this new price is still quite expensive. This high price of $11.87 per slightly less than a pound will be held for a period of five years and then it will decrease by 10% per year thereafter. Once a GM seeds variety looses their traits or its effectiveness it will not be eligible for royalties.  The seeds typically loose those traits as the use of weed killers has starkly increased because of new weed killer resistant crops, GM traits are expected to have a limited period of efficacy.   More

The order also aims to break up the Monsanto monopoly without naming the company by adding that any local seed company seeking licenses for selling any new Bt cotton variety shall get the license within 30 days of requesting the licensor.

Monsanto is successfully battling attacks on their corporate ethics successfully on many fronts.  However in April 2016
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria disagreed Monsanto’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by Edward Hardeman, because simply having an EPA-approved label “does not prevent a jury from finding that that same label violates FIFRA.” The judge also said FIFRA requires “adequate” warnings about the potential risks of herbicides. In an order (PDF) denying the motion to dismiss, Judge Chhabria wrote:

“In this light, it’s hard to see how Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims could ‘be construed more broadly than’ FIFRA. Indeed, Hardeman’s complaint explicitly bases his California-law failure-to-warn claims on Monsanto’s alleged violation of FIFRA.”

Europe Delegates decided in March to delay their vote to extend the permits to market Glyphosate products through-out Europe based on opposition from Germany and France.  They decided to await the results of a study that will definitely determine whether or not Glyphosate causes cancer. Currently Glyphosate has a 2A – maybe and maybe not – rating.

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: Rushing to grant a new license now, without waiting for an evaluation by Europe’s chemical agency, would be like skydiving without checking your equipment first. As long as there is conflicting scientific advice, glyphosate should not be approved for use in the EU. And countries would be better advised to do without it.

Monsanto is the largest manufacturer of Glyphosate based products while Chinese Companies hold approximately 50% of the market.  Other companies involved are Adama, Albaugh/Atanor, Bayer, Cheminova, Dow, Excel, Nufarm, Phytereup, Sinon, and Syngenta.

The Guardian reported:

Meanwhile officials who wish to vote on the issues are uncovered to be completely biased and in many instances are working for organizations who receive large “donations” from Monsanto and similar firms. In 2012, the ILSI group took a $500,000 (£344,234) donation from Monsanto and a $528,500 donation from the industry group Croplife International, which represents Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and others, according to documents obtained by the US right to know campaign.

The Green MEP Bart Staes said: “The timing of the release of this report by the FAO/WHO could be described as cynical, if it weren’t such a blatantly political and ham-fisted attempt to influence the EU decision later this week on the approval of glyphosate.” More

Meanwhile in the US  ISP reports:  “The department must recognize the harm that is already being done to organic and non-GMO farmers and put the responsibility squarely where it belongs – with the biotech companies … Now USDA can no longer claim ignorance about this problem.”

Even as contamination reports continue to grow, the U.S. government’s most recent response, drawn from the AC21 recommendations, has been to encourage “good stewardship” practices and communication between neighbouring farmers. Yet non-GM farmers say that, in practice, this has meant substantial outlays of both time and money in order to safeguard their crops – and virtually no corresponding responsibility on the part of farmers using genetically modified crops.

Glyphosates are a big deal and GMO crops may end up causing much harm, despite the fact that as survey conducted in 2013 showed that 93% of the US populations wishes to have GMO ingredients clearly labelled.

Consumers cannot rely on the regulatory bodies to care for their health.  The regulatory bodies are influenced by their funding, their goals in the defense industry, their corporate bottom line and their duties to share holders.  However, as consumers become more aware perhaps consumer demand will dictate a more health oriented stance by governments and industry alike.

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