Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we shared how the Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture and are poised to take over the entire food chain. Now, let's meet the Big Six...

The Big Six at a Glance

Monsanto: As the world’s largest seed company that is connected to the other five of the Big Six, Monsanto has gained its #1 ranking by research and development and acquisitions of biotech and seed companies, including gaining 50 seed companies during a 13-year period.

DuPont: DuPont has alliances with Monsanto, Syngenta and others and gains access to seed varieties it currently doesn’t own by entering into customized agreements with some of the largest remaining independent seed companies.

Syngenta: Syngenta has a 50/50 joint venture with DuPont called GreenLeaf Genetics to sell foundation seed to other seed companies.

Bayer: Bayer has recently become more active in acquiring cottonseed companies, although it purchased Stoneville from Monsanto for $310 million in 2007.

Dow: Dow has become more active in making acquisitions and developing joint ventures—focusing on partnering and allying itself with other companies.

BASF:  BASF holds patents on many transgenic seed traits having to do with climate change and has an agreement with Monsanto to spend up to $1.5 billion on engineering stress-tolerant crops.

Cross-Licensing: The Big Six and Their Unholy Alliances
There are tons of cross-licensing agreements among the Big Six—described as “non-merger mergers” because there’s aren’t changes of ownership, although they resemble what some call “cartel behavior.”

Monsanto has a central position because it has agreements with each of the other five firms. Take a look at their unholy alliances.

The Big Six and Food Insecurity
Monsanto and the other Big Six aggressively push genetically modified (GM) foods into mainstream America, and these biotech companies sell GM seeds and their GM-seed-tailored herbicides as package deals to farmers.

The catch is that the seeds don’t regenerate from year to year, causing farmers’ continual dependency on GM seed and its corresponding, customized chemicals. What’s more is that GMO produce is more vulnerable to climate change, pests and disease.

To me, that’s a perfect storm for food insecurity. 

GMOs and Serious Health Risks
Food insecurity isn’t the only fallout from GM foods. They also provide less nutrition and can severely compromise your health.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has publicly condemned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, saying they pose “a serious health risk.” “Several animal studies indicate infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, [faulty] insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system” associated with GMOs, says the AAEM.

Additionally, GM corn and soy make up more than 80 percent of all GMOs available and are found in nearly every processed food in the U.S., but GM food manufacturers don’t have to say on the label that a food contains GMOs. Bottom line: If you don’t purchase organic food, then you’re getting food filled with GMOs.

Don’t put up with Monsanto’s—and the other five of the Big Six’s—seedy behavior. Choose organic.