Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

July 12, 2013

'What? Who wins the prize?'

I woke abruptly when a friend asked, “Did you read Reka Basu’s column about Monsanto winning the World Food Prize?”

“What?” This was a bad dream.

But, yes, Basu had written in the Des Moines Register, appalled that Robert Fraley of Monsanto was one of three winners of the 2013 World Food Prize. I applauded as she detailed why it was terrible that a prominent Monsanto scientist won a prize for improving the “quality, quantity, or availability” of food in the world.

I go way back with Monsanto. In 2004, I wrote an essay saying that we need to apply our ethics in food choices because much of our food is produced in ways that harm our land or are unnecessarily cruel to animals. Ethical choices are particularly important because genetically modified organisms or GMO’s are present in more and more of our food. Mr. Fraley of Monsanto was critical to the creation and promotion of those GMO’s which require genes from one plant or animal to be spliced into another.

My research inspired my vow to buy organic as much as I could. Other than raising my own food, it’s the only way to avoid GMO and to avoid supporting Monsanto.

I don’t call Monsanto evil because they created GMO’s, but evil for the sly – successful – way they promote themselves, ignoring the risk to all of us and the only earth we know.

Monsanto uses food scarcity and the world’s expanding population as a way to promote its biotech seeds. In fact, there is enough food to feed the world now, if we could only DISTRIBUTE it more fairly. And the GMO seeds most widely used aren’t engineered to enhance nutrition but to resist Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready herbicide when it’s sprayed on the weeds that threaten crops. Their biggest seller is Round-Up Ready.

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