Monsanto: The Seed Monopoly That Caused Genetically Modified Food To Start Showing Up On Nearly Every Dinner Table In The United States

Genetically modified corn food concept with hypodermic needleMost Americans have absolutely no idea that over the past couple of decades, one giant corporation has achieved a virtual monopoly on some of the most important seed markets in the United States.  Not only that, but this same company has done more to push genetically modified food on to the dinner tables of America than any other corporation.  The name of that giant corporation is Monsanto, and today approximately 95 percent of all soybeans and approximately 80 percent of all corn in the United States grow from seeds genetically altered according to Monsanto company patents.  The power that Monsanto now holds is almost indescribable.  Now, a stunning new investigation by the Associated Press has revealed how Monsanto is relentlessly squeezing their competitors, exerting tremendous control over the survival of smaller seed companies and ruthlessly protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered seeds.

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During the course of their investigation, the Associated Press reviewed a number of Monsanto licensing agreements and they conducted dozens of interviews with seed industry insiders, agriculture experts and legal authorities.

What they found was nothing short of astounding. 

It turns out that the Associated Press discovered that Monsanto uses ruthless contractual agreements to spread its technology.  In fact, they have given approximately 200 smaller companies the right to insert Monsanto's genes into their separate strains of corn and soybeans.

However, the Associated Press discovered that those agreements come with plenty of strings attached.  The following is how the AP described just one of Monsanto's unfair contract provisions....

"One contract provision bans independent companies from breeding plants that contain both Monsanto's genes and the genes of any of its competitors, unless Monsanto gives prior written permission — giving Monsanto the ability to effectively lock out competitors from inserting their patented traits into the vast share of U.S. crops that already contain Monsanto's genes."

So how much power do these one-sided agreements give Monsanto?

The AP report quotes one expert as describing this level of power to be "almost unbelievable"....

"We now believe that Monsanto has control over as much as 90 percent of (seed genetics). This level of control is almost unbelievable," said Neil Harl, agricultural economist at Iowa State University who has studied the seed industry for decades. "The upshot of that is that it's tightening Monsanto's control, and makes it possible for them to increase their prices long term. And we've seen this happening the last five years, and the end is not in sight."

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So what does it mean if Monsanto raises prices?

It means that those price hikes filter down to virtually every dinner table in America.

Without any meaningful competition, Monsanto can raise prices without fear.  As they raise prices, American consumers will soon find they are paying much more for cereal, soda, soup and many of the other products that they regularly purchase at the supermarket.

The reality is that as Monsanto has captured a rapidly increasing market share in the seed market over the past decade, prices for Monsanto genetically modified seeds have also rapidly increased.  In fact, the prices for Monsanto seeds have approxmiately doubled over the past decade.

But it is not just consumers and Monsanto's competitors who are upset.

Many farmers throughout the United States are absolutely fed up with Monsanto's ruthless use of litigation.  Monsanto is involved in so much litigation that it is not even funny.

You see,  all over America the wind is carrying Monsanto's genetically altered seeds over to neighboring farms that are not using their seeds.  So Monsanto regularly sends out "investigators" to visit farms that are not using their seeds yet to test whether or not any Monsanto crop strains have shown up on those farms.  If they have, then Monsanto proceeds to sue the living daylights out of those farmers.

Does that sound like a "good" corporation to you?

There are others who are highly concerned about the negative impact that Monsanto is having on the environment.

Why?

Because Monsanto is creating an environmental nightmare that is unprecedented.

The truth is that once genetically modified crops created by Monsanto are released into the environment, it is virtually impossible to ever contain or recall them.  Seeds are easily carried by insects, birds, and the wind into neighboring fields.  Pollen from genetically modified crops ends up cross-pollinating with natural crops and wild relatives.  In fact, once a strain of genetically modified crops becomes widespread enough, the natural strains can actually be bred into extinction.

It is just not possible to put the genie back into the bottle.

Once Monsanto's strains have become dominant everywhere, then they will own a patent over virtually all seeds and all crops.

They will have unprecedented power.

Meanwhile they may just be wrecking our health.

The reality is that many natural health experts are claiming that there is a growing body of evidence that genetically modified foods are linked to a vast array of diseases and illnesses.  Just some of the diseases and illnesses that genetically modified food has been linked to by natural health experts include food allergies, intestinal damage, autoimmune disorders, anemia, diabetes, infertility and even cancer.  In fact, independent scientific studies that have been done on the effects of genetically modified have produced some very troubling results.

So why have we not heard more about this?

The truth is that it has been documented that independent scientists and government officials who have dared to question the safety of genetically modified food have been harrassed, threatened and in some cases even fired

It is clear that there is someone out there who wants to make darn sure that only one side of the genetically modified food debate is presented to the public.

But this lack of debate could have serious consequences.

For example, what if it is conclusively proven that genetically modified seeds cause cancer?

Well, if 95 percent of a particular kind of seed has to all of a sudden be taken off the market that would instantly cause a massive food shortage.

The truth is that for one company to have such extraordinary power over our seeds is a direct threat to our survival as a nation.

What if their seeds fail?

What if their seeds have unintended health consequences?

What if their seeds end up being particularly susceptible to crop diseases?

What if they decide that they want to start doubling prices every single year?

The "what ifs" are endless.  But what we do know is that Monsanto's behavior is driving hordes of small farmers out of business, it is strangling competitors, and it is permanently altering the environment.

When are the snoozing politicians in Washington going to wake up and do something about this?

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  • Karen Pechacek

    I wonder what the Monsanto’s eat for dinner.

  • MikoMann

    Not exactly a balanced article.

    1. Monsanto doesn’t control 90% of seeds. For example the company Dupont which used to have a 60% of seed and now has about 35% share has about the same share as Monsanto.
    2. The biggest complainer is Dupont since their products dont do as well as Monsanto’s and they have been losing out to Monsanto.
    2. The reason why most the GM traits (mostly single or at most 3 genes) that are in GM corn and soybeans are from Monsanto is because they spend nearly $3 M a day researching and developing new traits and their competitors did not. Their main competitor hasn’t been able to develop its own traits. Its recent GAT trait has failed to be delivered on time.
    3. Monsanto didn’t keep their traits to themselves. If they had they would have captured even more market share. Instead they shared them with other seed companies including their best competitor Dupont. Something Dupont has refused to do. So Monsanto has not been behaving like a monopoly.
    4. The seed companies can add more traits but they can’t add a defective trait like Dupont’s GAt technology that Dupont finally admitted failed to work.
    5. Your comment that food will be on every table is true – its been there for more than 13 years …funny how you only just noticed.
    6. Every company has raised its seed prices and this usually happens as grain prices increase. That’s because the price of grain directly affacted teh cost to produce the seed and as grain prices increase farmers make more money and can afford to pay more for their seed. Fertlizer prices also increase with grain prices.
    7. Whereas fertilizer prices (monsanto doesn’t sell fertilizer) increases in price but there is no added benefit that comes from with the higher price however Monsanto increases prices when they add benefits to their seed. So if the new trait saves or makes the farmer say $10 Monsanto charges less than $5 for the grower to get this value
    8. Growers have always complained about prices but if they really cared they wouldn’t buy the seed and some of the 200 seed companies that don’t offer the GM traits would thrive but growers see the value and buy the GM seed.
    9. In corn and cotton their GM traits si]uch as Bt corn and cotton also prevent the use of millions of lbs of chemical insecticides.
    10. The US constitution includes patent protection and in exchange for sharing with the public their trade secret inventions if an inventor is granted a patent they are allowed a monopoly of that invention for 20 years after they file for the invention. After the patent expires anyone can develop their own products based on the invention. Anyone who steals and makes benefit out of invention without the approval of the inventor is subject to the law of the land.

    These are just a few examples of how incorrect and inaccurate your article and teh one by the Associated press is. Go to look at the Monsanto web site to see a rebuttal…but why would you do that ???

  • Erix

    In response to MikoMann:

    Thanks for giving a solid rebuttal on this article; it’s good to hear responses to this kind of thing.
    You did not, however, counter a couple of the more alarming assertions of the original. While I can understand why a company should be able to patent its work, the patenting of plants is mind-boggling. The fact that the genes which are used to identify the Monsanto plants can be transferred by wind to neighboring farms makes it essentially an infectious patent. Farmers should be allowed to keep seeds from one season to the next if they wish, but now they can be sued out of existence simply because their upwind neighbor decided to use Monsanto seeds. I’m not aware of any other patentable item that will spread on its own like this. It’s akin to patenting a computer virus, then suing anyone who has a computer that is infected with it.

  • Trademark

    You’re waiting for the politicians to do something about this? Try someone else. You’ll be waiting a while.

  • GiveMeABreak

    Even if all the things that MikoMann said was true, and I doubt it, the point point here is GMO food is making us sick. Now I don’t know about you but if I want to be poisoned; I could do it myself cause I certainly don’t need to pay year after year for them to do it slowly. You know how the “futuristic idea” of the 60′s Sci-Fi movies never turned out to be a good thing in the long run…well, here is a real life Sci-Fi and I don’t think it’s going to turn out any better.
    Good call on the politicians. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them don’t have a hand in Monsanto.

  • youguysaredumb

    to givemeabreak… The GMO’s are making you sick but its a less of a rate than what happened back when we used other chemicals besides round up. i mean we had products that would kill you if you came in contact with it in the 70′s. and now we have round up. which is a salt. that only shows minute changes in the kidneys after 2 years of digesting it. so if you look at the difference from what they used back then to what they use now its refined and alot better

  • Alexandra

    Even if we set aside all above comments, critical ethical issues can be raised in regards to Monsanto (as with many other large corporations). I’ll outline two examples.
    1) Percy Schmeiser owned an organic canola farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Monsanto trespassed, sampled his crop, and found its patented product present – likely brought in through wind and birds from neighboring farms using the patented seed. Monsanto sued, and only won once the case escalated to the Supreme Court. This raises huge ethical questions regarding Monsanto – as well as that of judiciary bodies, granted authority by the people.
    2) This exampled is in relation to “terminator” seeds + genetic contamination. Monsanto is a corporation; corporations need to bring in more and more revenue yearly to keep their shareholders. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce crops whose seeds cannot be replanted the following year, therefore forcing farmers through exclusivity contracts to purchase seeds again for the following harvest. Through pollen movement in the first generation (as noted in the Percy case), these seeds spread to other farms (lower yields the following year); “genetic seed sterilization would secure a much stronger monopoly than patents — instead of suing farmers for saving seed, companies are trying to make it biologically impossible for farmers to re-use harvested seed.”

    note on Syngenta: while it’s a Swiss based agri-giant, Switzerland continues upholding its GM ban.

  • Skipperohawaii

    To MikoMann; Spoken like a true company man. How long have you worked for Monsanto? Are you afraid they’ll fire you if you tell the truth?

  • moby doug

    Skipperohawaii nailed it: MikoMann is CLEARLY a mouthpiece for Monsanto. Anyone in the United States who farms corn or soybean can tell you that Monsanto has the country’s seed usage in a monopoly death grip. Pretending otherwise is absurd. Of course U.S. politicians and judges will never do anything about this monopoly: they are OWNED by Monsanto. Monsanto not only has an economic monopoly, its Topkick brand is also propagating a seed mono-culture……wiping out the use of other varieties of, for example, corn and soybeans. So what happens if, in a few years, a ferocious virus rips through the Monsanto seed brands and farmers have no other seed varieties to plant? Agri-catastrophe, that’s what. And Monsanto HAS aggressively used monopoly tactics against hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers. The company is so ferocious and dominating it makes Gates’ Microsoft monopoly and Rockefeller’s old Standard Oil monopoly look tame by comparison…..

  • moby doug

    Click here: Monsanto GMO Ignites Big Seed War : NPR

    Monsanto is already busy imposing its 2nd phase monopoly, Roundup 2, on farmers, because the patent on Roundup 1 expires 2014….. The Roundup monopoly also dominates the US cotton seed market. Monsanto FORCES farmers to buy its seeds every year. They no longer have the option of using seeds from their previous crops.

    (correction to my preceding statement: I meant Roundup, not “Topkick.”)

  • Tonie Hielscher

    you may not know that you are being poisoned….but what about the livestock they are feeding w/the GMO food…corn, which puts weight on the livestock..get into the tissues of the meat.Then they sell the meat to the consumers…then you’re eating it…they don’t know why all the people are having all sorts of cancer these days….just saying…it’s hard to know now a days what you’re eating….

  • Joseph Abraham

    This article is terrible. I am Southern California farmer and distributor. The consumers need to stop blaming Corporations for selling them products and stop buying the products of the Corporations. Consumers control Corporations.
    Besides, in all my years in agriculture, I have not seen the negative effects of the seed. If you re-read the article, there are no definitive health problems brought up, just broad conjectures.
    Is this article really claiming that Monsanto is wrongly accusing and litigating people for stealing seeds? If you don’t buy Monsanto, then keep your records of the seeds you do buy. If you reseed your current crops, keep an invoice from the re-seeder. If you reseed yourself, keep the invoice for the reseeding equipment. Any of the above mentioned evidence would quickly dismiss any trial, and would bring in some great revenue for a counter-trial.

  • BigBluntHolder

    Now a days you don’t know what to believe on this topic people just have so much to say.

  • rdupuy

    I would like to know that if the pesticides are reduced through genetically modifying plants, how do they do that? In the passed the pesticide would be sprayed on and could be washed off before eating but if they have started growing it within the plant then it can’t be washed off and we end up eating it. How does this all work, anyone know?

  • marcia darnell

    Scroll down and read connections to integer and Monsanto.http://popecrimes.blogspot.com/2011/03/integer-vatican-swiss-banks-accounts-fr.html

  • Cherie Brantner

    The comment above regarding GM fed to livestock. It has been shown to render animals who eat the feed sterile. Once animals taken off Monsanto’s GM the fertility comes back over time. So there is an affect on them, we eat them, so we may be sterilized as well. The “elite” want a reduced population on the planet so here we go. Spray it in the air, in water and food we consume. I bet the elite has there own food supply untainted by chemicals and genetic modification.

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