With Help From ALEC and Bayer, Monsanto Is Poised to Take Over the Global Food System
A massive portion of the planet's seed stock could soon be in the hands of a single company.
Bayer announced last month that it plans to purchase Monsanto, the controversial chemical corporation that has been sued around the world over its products. Nowadays, Bayer has a more consumer-friendly corporate reputation, but has a checkered past too. (Bayer’s history as a German company during the Nazi era is well documented.)
According to Vox, if regulators approve the $66 billion deal, the merger would create the largest agribusiness giant in the world, “selling 29 percent of the world’s seeds and 24 percent of its pesticides.”
Selling nearly a third of the world’s seeds actually means owning a huge portion of the seed stock on the planet. And, Monsanto has spent decades genetically modifying seeds to make them compatible with its chemical pesticides and herbicides, as with Roundup-ready corn. Those are the kinds of chemicals and modifications that can’t be washed off.
In the U.S., citizens have been waging major campaigns to try to get GMO products labeled and/or to prevent the use of GMO crops in their communities. These efforts have been attacked by Monsanto and other chemical corporations, which have worked to defeat citizen democracy through subterfuge—as with the deceptive ads that beat back California’s proposition on GMO labeling and with a “preemption” bill in Oregon to trump local ballot measures that passed overwhelmingly in two Oregon counties that banned GMO crops.
From fracking bans to minimum wage and GMO labeling, ALEC and its politicians have successfully driven preemption efforts with its “model” legislation throughout different parts of the country at the behest of giant corporations.
An Oregonian who leads a group with ties to Monsanto claimed he authored the bill, but as Lisa Arkin of the Pesticide Action Network North America noted both the Oregon bill and the ALEC bill share the same name and have the same core operative language and effect: “A local government may not enact or enforce a . . . measure, including but not limited to an ordinance, regulation, control area, or quarantine, to inhibit or prevent the production or use of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed.”