Thursday, May 21, 2015

“Monsanto, Out of China"

The Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) Report 21/05/15

By Chen-I-Wen
On May 25 2013, anti-Monsanto demonstrations took place in 436 cities in 52 countries. With slogans such as “Either mankind will stop Monsanto, or Monsanto will stop mankind,” demonstrators called for the public to be aware of the dangers posed by GMO food. On May 24, 2014, the planet again witnessed anti-Monsanto demonstrations that involved 4 million people. This year, the global anti-Monsanto march will take place on May 23.

Monsanto is a transnational agro-biotech company, widely known for producing GMO seeds. In 1996, the top three seed companies in the world – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta –already had 22 per cent of the global seed market. But by 2011, their combine share doubled, reaching 53.4 per cent. Monsanto alone had 26 per cent.  A monopoly by corporations like Monsanto threatens the seed sovereignty of all countries, including China’s.
Roundup is Monsanto’s flagship product, and is a glyphosate herbicide marketed globally, widely used on GM crops such as soybeans and corn. Monsanto has long propagated that glyphosate has a very low acute toxicity, and is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans’. But in March 2015, the World Health Organization’s IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) had 17 experts from 11 countries produce an evaluation on glyphosate, and they pronounced it to be‘probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)’.WHO’s IARC has a classification of four groups of carcinogens: Group 1, Carcinogenic to humans; Group 2A, Probably carcinogenic to humans; Group 2B, Possibly carcinogenic to humans; Group 3, Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans; Group 4, Probably not carcinogenic to humans.
Chinese people cannot remain outside the global resistance against Monsanto. In 2014, Beijing citizens sued China’s Ministry of Agriculture, and they demanded to make publicthe animal test report submitted by Monsanto for securing the safety certificate for its Roundup, used to enter Chinese market. Early this year, the court notified the plaintiffs that Monsanto would be added as a party to the case. This case is attracting growing attention among the Chinese public.
According to a recent international report, Monsanto knew in 1981that its flagship product Roundup is carcinogenic. Chinese food safety activists think that Monsanto not only hid the information from the Chinese government and people, but also defrauded the Chinese government and people with fake reports in order to obtain a safety license. Covering up Roundup’s carcinogenicity and the risks posed to human health by Roundup-tolerant GM soybeans and corn, Monsanto misled China to massively import and produce its products. Now China is the largest producer and exporter of glyphosate in the world, including supplies exported to Monsanto for use in the manufacture of Roundup formulations worldwide.
Eighty per cent of the soybeans consumed in China are imported. In effect, they are Monsanto’s GM soybeans. The soybeans have been sprayed with glyphosate, which had caused serious ecologic devastation and health risks to South American producers. Recently, 30, 000 doctors and medical professionals in Argentina demanded that their government prohibit glyphosate. When GM soybeans are dumped on China, it seriously undermines China’s own traditional soybeans, particularly in China’s northeast. Moreover, the glyphosate residue poses incalculable risks to consumers’ health.

Or read other recent reports on the ISIS science website here
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