Where the GMOs Grow

Posted by Henry Taksier, December 20, 2011

Florida Organic Growers joins defensive lawsuit against biotech empire

For the vast majority of Americans, food is food. And corn is corn. And a soybean is a soybean. And a seed of either of these vegetables is, well, a seed.

Or is it? To the corporate eye of Monsanto, that seed looks more like one of its transgenic creations, and if they can fish a lawsuit out of it, possibly millions of dollars.

Transgenic seeds are simply Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Many crops and foods are genetically altered nowadays. Corn, alfalfa sprouts, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and rapeseed are just a few of many GMOs being specifically engineered with Monsanto-manipulated herbicide-resistant DNA.

Taking into account all the products derived from GM crops, experts estimate 60 to 70 percent of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain at least one GM ingredient. GMOs are omnipresent in the modern diet and lifestyle. Omnipresent; however, not omni-wanted.

Organic farmers are trying their hardest to retain at least some portion of our food in its natural state, with DNA unmutilated. This isn’t the fight many are familiar with, or at least expecting.

In a way, this is the stereotypical “little guy vs. massive corporation” fight. But the “little guy” here includes more than just the “crunchy granola” organic farmers. Plaintiffs in Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto also include non-organic farmers who simply don’t want to produce GM crops.

March 2011 marked the beginning of a preemptive lawsuit, with 83 plaintiffs joining forces against corporate giant Monsanto. Florida Organic Growers, a nonprofit organic certification and sustainable farming outreach group based in Gainesville, joined the fight in July.

The 83 plaintiffs, representing a coalition of more than 270,000 farmers, united together as the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), represented by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), are filing this lawsuit against Monsanto out of fear.

Some of these farmers have forgone growing certain crops they feared could have the possibility of being cross-contaminated with Monsanto’s seed. They would rather lose money from under-production than subject themselves to the risk of being sued by Monsanto and potentially losing their farms.

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Read more via The Fine Print: Where the GMOs Grow

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