- Jeffrey's Take: Great News: Monsanto Rejected and Sued Around the World - Jeffrey Smith
I have good news today. I read the news all the time about GMOs. My friends over at GM Watch keep us informed and I’m looking at a lot of unprecedented pushback on Monsanto and GMOs. The first comes from South Africa. The agriculture minister rejected a submitted application for Monsanto’s so-called ‘drought tolerant’ corn. South Africa has been marching lockstep with Monsanto. In fact, I’ve done some work for South Africa and I remember this one farmer saying, ‘Oh, we were so successful with genetically engineered cotton in the Makhathini flats’. Well, it turned out it was all a lie. After years of proclaiming success, he finally admitted it was a failure.
Right now, there’s a lot of genetically modified corn there. This is the first country where the staple for the population that’s eaten three times a day is corn and is genetically modified. I remember talking to a former Monsanto scientist who was very concerned about this because he was aware that when corn was fed to rats as part of a Monsanto study, the rats got seriously damaged. But they didn’t withdraw the corn, they rewrote the study to hide the effects. And he told me that the amount of corn that was fed to those rats for just 90 days was, first a lower quantity then is eaten three times a day by the people in Southern Africa. But also, the length of time. The rats were damaged in 90 days and people will be eating corn their whole lives.
In the movie Genetic Roulette, I talk about a farmer whose farm workers ended up eating genetically modified corn that he was growing and had serious health issues. They were dying at very high rates and he had to employ 20% more workers because so many were sick. It’s a horrible story. But when they switched to non-GMO corn, they got better. When they switched back to GMO corn, they got worse and when they switched back to non-GMO corn, they got better.
So, the fact that the minister rejected the corn is great news for the people, but it’s also setting a precedent because around the world, very few of these captured governments ever reject a proposal. I remember talking to a person who was asked by a scientist, who was asked by the Supreme Court of India to evaluate the approval process in India for GMOs. He told me that it was a complete facade. Everything that was handed in was approved. And every time there was an objection, the group that was in charge (which was the majority appointed by the pro-GM government and the pro-GM industry) just rubber stamped it and said any objection was not credible and it had been disproven and discredited even though it wasn’t true.
Here we have the South African ministry ministers saying: guess what guys? In times of drought, when there was no water availability, the GMO does not outperform the natural. Also, the claims that it has higher yields was very inconsistent and the claims that it will kill insects was from one field trial over two seasons. And we know how Monsanto conducts its research, it’s so called science. So good on you South African trade agriculture minister!
Now let’s come back to the US. Different state governments – Indiana and Illinois – are following in the footsteps of Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, trying to restrict the spraying of Dicamba. Roundup has been sprayed so much that the weeds outsmarted Monsanto and gained resistance. And so, Monsanto realized that it’s not working in the fields. More than half of the US fields have Roundup resistant weeds in it. So, they created genetically engineered crops that were resistant to both Roundup and another herbicide called Dicamba. Dicamba tends to volatilize. It rises in the air, it’s pushed by the wind and then lands on other plant life and hurts it or kills it. So supposedly Monsanto developed a version of a combination of Roundup and Dicamba that doesn’t easily volatilize. But what they did in their “brilliance” is they introduced the seeds that were resistant to Dicamba and Roundup before they had approval for their chemical. And so, all these people in Arkansas and other places started to use the seeds (this was for cotton or soybeans) and it turns out that it was volatilizing and was causing damage all over the state. The state tried to ban it, the EPA came in and stopped them.
There has been a big fight between local agricultural and the EPA. It turns out it’s causing damage on millions of acres. Two farmers duked it out. One actually murdered the other one over a fight on this. It was a horrible story. But now, states around the growing area are asking for restrictions. In this case, Indiana and Illinois are trying to prohibit applying Dicamba after June 20th, which means after the volatilization will cause significant damage to other crops. What happened in these places was a lot of the farmers looked around and saw massive browning in soybean regions where there wasn’t Dicamba resistant seeds and they were forced to plant Monsanto’s Roundup and Dicamba resistant crops because otherwise they may have faced drift from nearby crops. And so, they were forced to get the GMOs.
Now the long-awaited Monsanto version of the spray came out and it turns out it doesn’t do much better than the original. It still can volatilize; it can still cause massive problems. What they’re facing now is Roundup losing its efficacy around the field. This is interesting. It’s like nature’s fighting it back. In South Africa, the drought resistant corn doesn’t work; the Dicamba doesn’t work in the United States. And so, it’s a technology that’s failing. We also know that there’s been lawsuits. The technology is dangerous, it’s deadly. So, in Canada there’s been a small number of individual lawsuits. But now a lawyer has filed a $500 million class action against the makers of Roundup, which is now Monsanto owned by Bayer.
At the same time in Australia, a couple of farmers are suing over the fact that they were using Roundup and it caused cancer. One farmer, Ross, has the most common story I’ve heard. He was told that Roundup was absolutely safe. He said that he saw advertisements that you could drink it. He used it since 1976 on oats, wheat and barley crops. And so he was driving around in his tractor that didn’t have a cabin and it was like a mist all over him from this so-called “safe Roundup.” And then he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2018. In papers all over theUnited States they call it “Farmer’s Disease,” which is tragic.
So, in Australia, a lot of local shires and cities are already implementing bans and restrictions on Roundup. So, there’s a whole wave of them, one after the other, and some are dealing with trying vinegar, steam methods and a lot of other ways that can handle the weeds without having to poison the people.
Germany, which is the home country for Bayer, who now owns Monsanto, they said they’d ban glyphosate by 2023 and their Southern neighbor Austria is on track to become the first EU country to ban glyphosate, possibly by the beginning of the year. They passed the vote; they just now have to make sure that the wording of the vote is not in violation of the EU law. The European commission has always been pro-GMO and pro-Monsanto. But now a technocrat government has said it’s waiting to see if the commission is going to rule on whether the ban would conform to EU rules.
Mexico also banned a thousand-ton shipment of glyphosate on the basis that it represents a high environmental risk given the credible presumption that it’s use can cause serious environmental damage and irreversible health damage.
So, there we are. Around the world, more and more people and governments are pushing back on Roundup and GMOs. This is great. This is what we’ve been working towards. Who knew that the World Health Organizations Committee (IARC) was going to declare glyphosate a probable human carcinogen? But that was big. That was very important, and it unleashed the possibility of lawsuits. I think there’s going to be lawsuits over different diseases. There’s so much evidence now of different diseases, not just non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, other types of cancers, autism, diabetes, hypertension, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s- all these different things we believe are related to GMOs, Roundup and glyphosate in particular.
It’s interesting. What’s happening now is there’s a big movement online as I’m sure you’re aware of – these summits and online docu-series. Well, a lot of the people who run them become aware of the role that GMOs and Roundup play in all these different diseases. I’m interviewed on anxiety summits, thyroid summits, cancer summits, Alzheimer’s summits, microbiome summits, gut health summits and inflammation summits because it applies virtually everywhere. In my opinion, it’s one of the most serious disruptors of these and other health problems. So before I sign off, we have good news from around the world. Please give some good news from your house, which is eliminate the non-organic products. Why? Non-GMO is not good enough anymore. Roundup is sprayed on non-GMO oats, wheat, barley, corn and soy. The non-GMO soy, non-GMO corn, non-GMO navy beans, lima beans, lentils, mung beans. It’s sprayed on orange groves and vineyards. It’s all over the place and you don’t want to be eating glyphosate levels in your food. So just as the whole world is pushing back, please push back on Monsanto and Roundup.
Safe eating everyone!
BREAKING NEWS: France bans dozens of glyphosate weedkillers. After the production of this newsletter, the news broke that France’s health and environment agency said it was banning dozens of glyphosate-based weedkillers, most of the volume of such products sold in France, ruling there was insufficient data to exclude health risks. Another one bites the dust!