For city slickers, the brewing debate over the Monsanto corporation in America’s heartland can seem too complex to care about. The folks over at the Union of Concerned Scientists decided to break the issue down in a captivating way – by live drawing a comic book. Keep in mind when watching the video that as an organization the UCS is staunchly against Monsanto.
Here’s what you need to know about Monsanto in a nutshell:
- Monsanto created an easy and cheap herbicide system called Round Up Ready.
- Monsanto also sold seeds that were genetically modified to withstand Round Up Ready.
- Soon weeds became resistant to Round Up Ready.
- Monsanto responded by creating a new brand of genetically modified seeds that can withstand even heavier doses of Round Up Ready.
- This cycle continues into infinity, and Monsanto holds patents on both the seeds and the herbicide, eliminating all price competition.
The arguments against Monsanto don’t just come from farmers, who are forced to buy their seeds from the company at whatever price the company decides to set, but from consumers as well, who are worried about the fact that it is nearly impossible to tell whether produce in genetically modified.
In 2007, when Barack Obama first hit the campaign trail, he pledged to get universal labeling on genetically modified foods across America. Seven years later and there still is a tug of war between consumer rights advocates and large companies like Monsanto.
On Friday Vermont passed legislation to become the first state to require all genetically modified foods to be labeled. It’s already expected that the state will be sued over the legislation, with companies that sell genetically modified products claiming the labeling law unfairly discriminates against them.
There is also a chance the federal government could get involved in the case, as the House is currently considering legislation drafted by Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, to keep labeling rights solely in the hands of the FDA. If this bill is passed, it would prevent states from making their own laws regarding genetically modified foods.
Washingtonians may not have much interest in how Monsanto is monopolizing America’s agriculture system. But all consumers can have an opinion over whether or not they want to know if their food is genetically modified.