Reuters reported in October 2015 that the “Majority of EU nations seek opt-out from growing GM crops.”
19 EU member states made the request to opt-out for either all or part of their territories from “Cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission.”
The 28 nations of the EU had until October 3, 2015 to exercise their opt-out option. This opt-out ratio reflects the general European public’s opposition to Monsanto’s GMO crops. Specially, Monsanto’s GM maize MON 810 or “for pending applications, of which there are eight so far.”
Even in the face of such unified opposition, Monsanto stands strong that such requests to opt-out are “unscientific”. GMO Free Regions provides an updated “opt-out monitor” of the European countries that have opted-out of Monsanto (1).
The 19 countries opting out include:
–> Belgium for the Wallonia region
–> Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
–> Germany (except for research)
–> the Netherlands
Studies on Harmful Effects of GMO Crops and Herbicides
In July 2014, Collective Evolution published an extensive article summarizing more than a dozen studies linking GMO corn, glyphosate and other GMO crops and herbicides to various physical diseases and side effects. These included cancer, liver and kidney damage as well as “severe hormonal disruption” (2).
In August 2014, TSW discussed the increase in cancer of those living near farms growing GM crops.
In July 2015, TSW reported on the announcement made by the “UN’s [United Nations] ‘France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization’ International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC (IARC) glysophate (Roundup)” that the herbicide “is a carcinogenic agent. In fact, France has banned all ‘glyphosate-based products’ from its garden centers” (3).
Prior to that “On June 14, 2015, French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced France was banning the sale of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and other glyphosate products from all of its garden centers. Phys. Org reported that France had banned the ‘sale of Monsanto herbicide Roundup in nurseries’.”
Cornering the world’s food market via seed patents for GMO crops followed by patent infringement lawsuits for accidental cross-pollination and the GMO crops designed specifically for the company’s herbicide Roundup is a multi-billion dollar business. Monsanto goes on the defensive to protect its world market share, which is massive. One of the tactics used is to try to discredit studies that reveal Monsanto’s crops and herbicides are major health risks.
TSW discussed how in “late June 2014, GMO Seralini announced the republishing of its 2012 study that was originally published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). That study, however, was ‘retracted by the editor-in-chief in November 2013 after a sustained campaign of criticism and defamation by pro-GMO scientists’” (4).
March Against Monsanto
RT (Russia TV) reported in May 2015 that “over 400 cities protest GMOs”. There were a total of 452 rallies officially registered with MAM (March Against Monsanto). North and South American, Africa, Europe, India, Australia and China saw thousands of protesters (5).
20 cities in France participated in the march. What you didn’t see in mainstream news media coverage were the hundreds of protesters that marched on the White House and the Monsanto DC headquarters.
The March Against Monsanto website stated in May 2015, “Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects. In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products. Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds” (6).
While the health risks of GMO and the environmental damage caused by herbacides takes center stage, there is another side of the GMO coin that is just as pressing – the disappearance of seed diversity.
When so few different types of crops are being grown worldwide, for example a main type of GMO corn, not only has food monopoly come into play, but also the threat of world starvation should an organism or blight attack a main world crop.
Seed savers strive to harvest non-GMO heirloom seeds in an effort to maintain and protect seed diversity. However, once a GMO crop is turned loose in the world, it potentially can cross-pollinate and forever change the world’s food crops.
References & Image Credits:
(1) GMO Free Regions
(2) Collective Evolution
(3) TSW: Here’s Why France Banned Monsanto Herbicide Roundup in Nurseries
(4) TSW: Campaign GMO Defame Scientific Studies Roundup
(6) March Against Monsanto