Monsanto, which considers itself to be an agricultural organization, is one of the largest companies behind genetic engineering. Today they have over twenty products, many of which can be bought from their website, which range from Roundup Ready™1 to genetically modified corn. They claim to “help farmers grow yield sustainably so they can be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber, while also reducing agriculture's impact on our environment” (Monsanto U.S. Ag Products), but can they be believed? Their home page, brightly colored, featuring happy farmers and promises to feed the world’s hungry, tells the public what they want to hear, while what lies right under the surface of this cheerful appearance is appalling. Monsanto is responsible for the destruction of many farms, the reduction in crop varieties, and the development of resistant weeds and pests. Yet, they continue to push and shove their way across the United States unquestioned, consuming family-owned farms and disrupting the traditions and values that go along with them. Monsanto’s growth is fueled by unnecessary sacrifices, unfair and unsupportable convictions, and environmental devastation. Their main focus is to expand and be successful, but in Monsanto’s path of destruction lies a number of consequences that we as consumers are forced to face.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), introduced in the early 1990s, were created to increase crop productivity and resistance to natural disturbances including harsh conditions and pests. This was done by altering the DNA of plants and inserting new genes from other plants, bacteria, or animals. Although GMOs were introduced with good intentions, the impact has been significant and drastic; organic farms are dwindling, species variety is disappearing and unexpected health problems are becoming more common. Today, 8.25 million farmers grow genetically modified crops on about 200 million acres of farmland commercially (Schmidt A527). These staggering numbers do not even take into consideration the farms that have accidentally obtained genetically modified seeds through cross-pollination and through buying unlabeled bags. The source of most of these problems is due to the carelessness of biotech companies2 such as Monsanto.
Monsanto’s rise to power has been dishonest as they continuously develop products without extensive testing; a possibility due to their significant influence on our government. In the past few years, the government has strongly supported GM crops because many of these government workers are former employees of Monsanto. Supreme Court Judge, Clarence Thomas, who is responsible for many of the laws passed for or against genetically modified foods, was a Monsanto attorney before his appointment to his current position (The Future of Food). The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture was a member of the board of directors for Monsanto, and the former U.S. Secretary of Health received a large amount of money from Monsanto in order to support his campaign as Wisconsin Governor (The Future of Food). Monsanto’s strong ties in the government allow for the weak regulation of GM products that can be found today. The only requirement for a genetically modified crop is that it “shares equivalent composition and nutritional status to its conventional counterpart” (Schmidt A532). With these relaxed regulations, dangerous genes can easily be spread, but, according to our government; as long as the carrots still contain beta-carotene they are essentially marketable. The government’s decision seems irresponsible and unsafe; knowing the cases of cancer and deadly allergic reactions that have been caused by these foods, it is incomprehensible to hear that testing is still not required for all of these crops. However, when we take into consideration the effect that Monsanto has on the government, we can begin to understand the reasoning for the…