1.Monsanto Wants to Ban U.S. Milk Labelling, Hiding Food Info From Consumers
2.An open letter to Monsanto - It's tough to be the class behemoth
NOTE: Don't miss the great Simpsons cartoon with item 2 http://www.ethicurean.com/2008/02/20/open-letter-to-monsanto/
And check out all the resources at Millions Against Monsanto http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm
EXTRACTS: Monsanto is teaming up with AFACT, American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, which is led by several dairy farmers. AFACT also shares the same public relations firm as Monsanto.
Monsanto is scared. It's obvious in the way the company wants to steer consumer focus away from rbGH, and it's clear in how it wants to muscle its way into the legislative process. (item 1)
Pennsylvanians are tough, Monsanto. They're tough enough to fight back. And they did. They turned around and kicked your @*s good. Pennsylvania dairies got to keep their rBGH-free labels. That must have made you feel very small.
So then you did the next logical thing. You found some other kids on the playground that you thought you could kick around. Like New Jersey. That one surprised me, Monsanto. I mean, Tony Soprano? Hel-LO?... Not smart, picking on New Jersey. They've always been tough in Jersey. They crushed you. The Garden State can keep its labels, too. (item 2)
1.Monsanto Wants to Ban U.S. Milk Labelling, Hiding Food Info From Consumers
Digital Journal, 6 March 2008 http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/251316/Monsanto_Wants_to_Ban_U_S_Milk_Labelling_Hiding_Food_Info_From_Consumers
If Monsanto has its way, you won't know what's in your milk. The food-tech leader is introducing bills to U.S. states that would ban milk labels claiming products are 'growth hormone-free.' But Monsanto's efforts aren't going unnoticed.
Agribusiness giant Monsanto is doing everything in its power to keep the contents of milk a secret. Recently, Monsanto led an effort to get rid of milk labels reading 'growth hormone-free' in Kansas. The company wants the state's Senate to pass a bill that would ban any kind of labeling because, they claim, growth hormones can't be found in lab tests.
Monsanto is teaming up with AFACT, American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, which is led by several dairy farmers. AFACT also shares the same public relations firm as Monsanto. They want to make it illegal to label food, a Kansas City Star reporter says, 'as having a compositional claim that cannot be confirmed through laboratory analysis or to state a compositional or production-related claim that is supported solely by sworn statements, affidavits, or testimonials.'
Essentially, this claim says lab tests can’t find growth hormones in milk, so dairy farmers who steer clear of the controversial drug are not even allowed to represent their milk as hormone-free.
Senate Bill 595 is before the Senate Agriculture Committee, and state Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, said he needs to study the bill more extensively. He told the Lawrence Journal World & News:
I'm certainly not opposed to the public having the right to know. That's just part of the freedom we have in this country, and I don't want to lose that regardless of what side you are on this issue.
Monsanto certainly doesn't want consumers to know much about recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), which help cows produce more milk at the expense of their health. It's been widely reported that rbGH can increase toxicity in cows and cancer risk in humans.
In order to spin the dangers away from the public eye, Monsanto has introduced similar bills in several other states, including Indiana, Ohio, Utah and Pennsylvania. Activist groups are reacting strongly to Monsanto's anti-labelling efforts - Patty Lovera of Food and Water Watch told Utah's Desert Morning News that corporate interference in food labeling 'is a restriction on commercial speech and unconstitutional.'
Monsanto is scared. It's obvious in the way the company wants to steer consumer focus away from rbGH, and it's clear in how it wants to muscle its way into the legislative process. Like any corporation worried about its bottom line, Monsanto knows that 'rbGH-free' milk labels could appeal to health-conscious consumers. And is that so wrong? Unfortunately, Monsanto is looking after itself rather than the public, but let's hope state Senates don't fall for the agribusiness's wily tricks.
2.An open letter to Monsanto
The Ethicurean, 20 February 2008
Just look at you. You've got your knit cap pulled down tight over your crew cut, and your stomach is sticking out beneath your skull-and-crossbones T-shirt. Your face is riddled with acne, and your eyes are all hard and mean. You've been left back a few grades now - summer school doesn't always help much, does it? ”” and so now you are way bigger than everyone else.
You don't have too many friends anymore. It's tough to be the class behemoth, isn't it? So you've taken to pushing other kids around on the playground and trying to take their milk money.
Or, at least, to take away their ability to label their milk as rBGH-free. Makes you feel bad when they label things that way, like they know you've got cooties or something. Plus you lose money then, and you don't like losing money. It makes you feel ”¦ small, somehow.
So you do what all oversized bullies do to keep themselves from feeling small: you push. You push all the kids you think you can get away with pushing.
Like Pennsylvania. You expected Pennsylvania would be a pushover, didn't you? You thought it would be all fat, happy children at Hershey Park. Maybe a few old-order Mennonites. A handful of people downing cheese steaks and Mike and Ikes. I mean, I kind of understand what you were thinking. Pennsylvania is the home of Alice from the Brady Bunch and the 'Time in a Bottle' crooner guy and Mr. Rogers and that geeky doctor from 'Jurassic Park.' But you didn't bother to think about other folks who hail from Pennsylvania, like Joan Jett and Charles Bronson and Larry Holmes (Monsanto, dude, he beat Muhammad Ali and a guy whose nickname was 'Bonecrusher'!). And, um, the Battle of Gettysburg? Pennsylvanians are tough, Monsanto. They're tough enough to fight back. And they did. They turned around and kicked your @*s good. Pennsylvania dairies got to keep their rBGH-free labels. That must have made you feel very small.
So then you did the next logical thing. You found some other kids on the playground that you thought you could kick around. Like New Jersey. That one surprised me, Monsanto. I mean, Tony Soprano? Hel-LO? And did you see Ray Liotta in 'Goodfellas'? And what about the vice president who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Not smart, picking on New Jersey. They've always been tough in Jersey. They crushed you. The Garden State can keep its labels, too.
Next you turned to a state that you think would be a reeeaally easy target: Indiana. But you never saw that movie, did you? The one where the Town Drunk and the Coach With A Checkered Past lead a bunch of earnest farmboys to the state basketball championships? And then, when the final game is tied at 40, Coach Dale calls a timeout and designs a play for Merle to take the last shot, but the players refuse to leave the huddle until Jimmy finally says, 'I’ll make it' and then Coach Dale then redraws the play for Jimmy to take the last shot, which is what the team wanted all along? And then Jimmy makes it, he makes that last shot, and everyone cheers, including Shooter, who jumps up and down on his hospital bed? Didn’t you SEE that movie, Monsanto? The folks in Indiana have heart. They may be underdogs, but they are underdogs who know how to win.
Anyhow, they beat you, too. Indiana can say what it wants on its milk labels.
You're still battling it out in Ohio, it's true. But you're facing nurses standing up and saying Hell, no! We won't go! We won't lay down for Mon-san-to! Or something to that effect, anyway. And even the Consumer Reports folks are saying the same. And if that's not enough, I've got two words for you: Marilyn Manson.
So now you're pickin' on Kansas. You were imagining Dorothy, probably - wide-eyed, apple-cheeked, easy to knock over in a fight. But you must not have studied much history in summer school, Monsanto. Because if you had, you'd know all about Bloody Kansas and everything that came after that nasty little brouhaha, and you would know enough NOT TO PICK A FIGHT IN KANSAS.
So, here’s my question for you, Monsanto. It’s a question that all bullies must ask, eventually, after one too many times of kicking sand in other people’s face only to discover that it just isn’t a good life strategy: How much is too much? Do you know when to say when?
When will you decide you’ve gotten enough black eyes?
I'm going to be frank, Monsanto. You may own a pair of brass knuckles, but I've faced my share of playground scuffles, and I have even beat up boys. So I'm going to speak bluntly to you: It's not working. You keep picking on these kids, and Monsanto, pal, you're losing. You're LOSING. They don't want what you're peddling. They just don't want it, and your efforts to shove it down their throats, to hit them so hard that they won't even know what kind of milk they're buying, just aren't working. They are stronger than you anticipated. Or maybe - just maybe - you are a little weaker.
I recommend a little therapy. No shame there. Do a little digging on the therapist's couch, figure out where all that anger comes from. Because I'm thinking that perhaps it's not the other kids on the playground that you're angry at. Maybe you're mad at you. Yes, you.
Could it be possible you even hate yourself a tiny little bit?
I understand - you don't have a great model for love. You've got those shareholders, and they are always raggin' on you. No matter how hard you strive for their approval, it's never good enough for them. Record-smashing profits, 120% sales growth in just 7 years, and still ”” still! ”” they are saying, it's not enough. It will never be enough. They want growth. More growth. Endless growth. Growth every quarter - every damned quarter! And you're right, Monsanto: that's not real love.
All of your old allies have left you behind. Starbucks, Krogers, Publix, Safeway, Dean Foods, Chipotle Mexican Grill”¦and now Kraft, too”¦they just don't want to be associated with you any more. Just like all those kids on the playground.
But Monsanto? If you have to bully people into being your friend? That's not friendship. That's not real love.
Remember the serenity prayer? Because that's what you need. You need to ask God to grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change (such as all of us consumers who want to know how our food is produced. You’re not going to change us. So sorry); the courage to change the things you can (you can change YOU, Monsanto. You can change YOU!); and the wisdom, always, to know the difference.
Godspeed, Monsanto. Godspeed.
Guest contributor Ali can be found at the Cleaner Plate Club. Her previous post for us was about teaching her kid to curse. If Matt Groening wants to sue someone over the illustration, Bonnie gets the blame.