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DOJ Gets Serious About Antitrust, Targeting Dean Foods and Monsanto

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ORIGINAL POST AT BNET  link here.

By Katherine Glover | Jan 27, 2010

Katherine Glover is a Minneapolis-based print, radio and online journalist. She’s written for Salon.com, Sierra Magazine and many others, and she does a weekly blog on immigration issues for MinnPost.

The Department of Justice has formalized its investigation of Monsanto and filed a lawsuit against Dean Foods, confirming rumors that the DOJ would be more vigilant on antitrust issues under the Obama Administration.

The Justice Department seeks to undo Dean’s acquisition of two Wisconsin dairy companies, alleging that the deal was a way to reduce competition and raise prices. This legal action is “highly unusual” according to one dairy analyst; “this is the first bark we’ve heard from the antitrust division on food issues in a very long time.” The Bush Administration did not file a single major anti-monopoly case, according to the Washington Post.

The latest Monsanto investigation is about whether Monsanto will continue to produce its current Roundup Ready soybean seeds after the patent expires in 2014, or whether it will simply swap in a new, upgraded product under a new patent so it can maintain its high prices.

This is not the first time Monsanto has been accused of monopolist tendencies; the company controls an estimated 96 percent of the U.S. soybean crop and 80 percent of its corn crop, and some have compared Monsanto to the Microsoft of earlier decades. READ MORE

 Katherine Glover

Monsanto will OWN and CONTROL roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S.

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Hi Supporter,

The Associated Press just uncovered a series of confidential commercial licensing agreements that give around 200 smaller companies the right to insert Monsanto’s genes (resistant to their Roundup herbicide) in their corn and soybean plants.

This means that Monsanto will OWN and CONTROL roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. Monsanto is blocking competition in the seed industry, forcing farmers into growing genetically modified crops, and all the while increasing seed prices. Now, when farmers buy bags of seed from obscure brand names, they are paying for Monsanto’s seeds.

These practices are at the core of the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine if Monsanto is violating anti-trust laws.

Sign the FRESH petition to the Department of Justice: break up the food monopoly to free our farmers.

http://action.freshthemovie.com/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=617

This could be the first step towards the government taking long-needed action to help break the corporate control in our farming and food system.

For farmers to survive and thrive, we need the government to take action that restores real competition to the farm economy – not the current situation where a few corporations in the grain, seed, dairy and livestock sectors hold excessive control.

In 2010, the Department of Justice will hold public hearings to discuss anti-trust issues in agricultural production. We want our voice to be heard in this process.

FRESH will deliver your signature and comments to the Department of Justice.

Sign the FRESH petition: free our farmers by busting corporate control of our food system.

http://action.freshthemovie.com/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=617

ana Sofia joanes
Director, FRESH

Monsanto’s assault on agriculture

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Monsanto is a corporation reviled for its genetic tampering and attempts to seize control of agriculture around the world.  While trying to change its public persona into one of benevolence towards the public, the history of Monsanto is littered with continuous efforts to not only seize control of food production, but also supply.   Monsanto’s history also includes lives destroyed either financially and/or physically as the result of its activities.

 

Here in the US, Monsanto goon squads  routinely trespass onto privately owned land, take samples of privately owned crops and then claim Monsanto’s frankenseed crops are being grown illegally…their patents have been violated.  According to Monsanto, these are “unauthorized seeds”.  Those two words are a harbinger of things to come and should give you an idea where all of this is headed.

 

Courts have ruled that if Monsanto’s seeds sprout in a ditch near the uncontaminated natural crops of a farmer who refuses to grow gmo, the crop belongs to Monsanto along with fines and penalties. 

 

Monsanto attempts to minimize their harassment of non-participating farmers by saying that out of about 250,000 farmers they have only sued about 120.  Monsanto goes on to say that farmers will report other farmers who save seed, and that many of the tips they get about seed saving are from other farmers in the community.  I think the probability of this actually happening is slight and would tend to think more along the lines of the Goon Squads illegally trespassing and reporting; after all, that’s what they get paid for.

 

On top of this, Monsanto came up with a new in-house rule after the fact, claiming they had not sold the seeds to the farmers but had merely leased the seeds to the farmer.   This was a de facto legal maneuver.  After all, if you SELL something, how it is used is no longer your business, it doesn’t belong to you.  If you lease the same product, you now have continued interest in the use. 

 

Monsanto knows that genetic traits can be passed between grains or other plants either during handling and processing or as a result of pollination and that gmo transfers more readily than traditional seed.  As a result, they also know that genetic traits and makeup indicating the purity of any seed at this point in time is not achievable as a result of the contamination of traditional crops resulting from genetically altered crops being totally uncontrolled and uncontrollable.

 

Knowing that wind drift, bird droppings and other natural happenings would by necessity cause the contamination and cross pollination of natural crops with the genetically modified crops, Monsanto continued to push its malignant creations onto farmers who believed the hype that Monsanto’s “authorized seeds” would increase productivity and increase profits.  The passing of time and the analysis of these claims tells a different story.

 

In the case of soybeans:

Roundup Ready Soybeans Use 2-5 times more Herbicides than non-GE Varieties.  When you add royalties, fees and other costs the resulting profit for the farmer is $0.  The increase in production is negligible and usually less than a traditional crop.  These crops also require 2 to 3 times more water to grow.

 

Then there’s that problem with cotton:

(Excerpted from the original article at Global Research):  

The cotton’s agronomic performance is also erratic. When Monsanto’s GM cotton varieties were first introduced in the US, tens of thousands of acres suffered deformed roots and other unexpected problems. Monsanto paid out millions in settlements.

  • [4] When Bt cotton was tested in Indonesia, widespread pest infestation and drought damage forced withdrawal of the crop, despite the fact that Monsanto had been bribing at least 140 individuals for years, trying to gain approval.
  • [5] In India, inconsistent performance has resulted in more than $80 million dollars in losses in each of two states.
  • [6] Thousands of indebted Bt cotton farmers have committed suicide. In Vidarbha, in north east Maharashtra, from June through August 2006, farmers committed suicide at a rate of about one every eight hours.
  • [7] (The list of adverse reactions reported from other GM crops, in lab animals, livestock and humans, is considerably longer.) (end excerpt)

These are just two of the crops being devastated by genetic tampering and the attempts to lay claim to crops traditionally grown successfully without patents, tampering or alteration.

 

Wherever Monsanto has inserted itself in agriculture, food supplies dwindle, become unaffordable or have devastating affects on human health.  Traditional and proven seed stocks are destroyed or forever contaminated with genetically altered material that can include everything from human dna to that of numerous animals or many times unidentified genetic material.

 

And about that Artic Seed Vault…….as I asked before, if what Monsanto produces is so beneficial, if it in fact is far superior to traditional seeds…..why was none of their mutated stock included in the Vault? 

Maybe because it isn’t fit for human consumption?

 

 (C) 2009 Marti Oakley

 

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