The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

The Monsanto Protection Act: Let’s get ranty

on April 6, 2013


So, I’m sitting here in class, tip-typing my way through the internet, and I ran across this lovely video over at the Huffington Post. Which reminded me that I’d recently heard about this on my daily news source. And man, does it just put my blood in a boil.

For those of you who don’t know what the “Monsanto Protection Act” (which is, officially, entitled the Farmer Assurance Provision) is, it’s a rider that was slipped in anonymously to the recent budget legislation that the House/Senate passed to keep the government budget from imploding. It protects companies LIKE MONSANTO from being sued when/if their genetically engineered seeds grow into genetically engineered food and makes people sick.

Yes, you read that right. This protection ANONYMOUSLY SLIPPED INTO A BILL ON BUDGETARY REFORM protects Monsanto if you eat their SuperSoy and then get sick. I just…I just…

So, let’s talk about this, yes? First of all, I’m going to disclaimer this bad boy: I’m not perfect. I don’t eat all organic, all local, all grass-fed beef, or what have you. I eat GM foods every day (largely due to the sheer number of GM foods that exist on our everyday table). So there’s that. I don’t want to judge what you’re eating, although I think that the environmental, social justice, and health benefits for eating organic/local far outweigh the other options. I understand it’s expensive, and that’s unfair (that’s another side to this discussion we can get in to later if you’d like!). But I also understand that hopsital bills and medications are expensive, and I come from a place of believing that whole food should be our medicine.

That being said, I’m literally disgusted in this recent development in favor of Monsanto. There are a number of great films and books out there (like this one; or this one) that discuss the issue of food politics and the systems that work together to put food on our table. One of the largest issues that I have with the mass agriculture industry are the insidious ties between Big Business and Big Farming and the fact that, in these efforts for both to reach their pinnacles of profit, the people who seem faced with the worse consequences is, in fact, us – the consumer. Now, sure, there are a million ways this could go (why is organic so expensive? Is ‘organic’ doing all it should? don’t we bear some consumer responsibility for the current state of agricultural affairs?), and I’m willing to talk about all these things with anyone who has questions/concerns, but the point of this rant is more about the freedoms we hold as US consumers.

If you were to eat…who knows, let’s say a Laughing Cow cheese. Say you eat your Laughing Cow and it makes you deathly, deathly ill – costs you thousands in medical bills, stress, suffering, etc. You would be able to sue Laughing Cow for selling you a product that (as long as you can prove culpability) made you sick. But if the same thing were to happen with Monsanto soy or corn crops? Too bad. Sucks for you. Even though Monsanto isn’t required to label their products:

We oppose current initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks. Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.

and you may not realize you’re ingesting a GM food, if you get sick? Now you are left with no legal recourse for recollecting the money you need to get yourself on your feet. And here’s the kicker – you know that Laughing Cow sits on the shelf; if you don’t want it, don’t buy it. But more and more we live in a world where, practically, if I said the same thing to you about, say HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) the odds that you’d be able to find AND afford that product is small. It seems unconstitutional to leave American consumers unable to hold the companies responsible for the very food we eat and how it affects our lives, environment, and planet. And not just for us – for generations and generations to come.

*steps off soap box* Sorry, guys. I know that was ranty and long. But food politics and food justice are some of my passions, and I’d love to hear from you guys if you’ve got two cents to add! Happy Saturday!


2 responses to “The Monsanto Protection Act: Let’s get ranty

  1. charlotte says:

    I’m so happy you posted this because I completely agree, and not enough people are talking about it. The Monsanto Protection Act is a gross infringement on the rights of the consumer. While I do think civil litigation in this country is a little out of control, shielding big business from having to answer for their shady practices- especially when it comes to FOOD of all things- is not an acceptable alternative.

    • Chelsea says:

      I completely agree! Obviously, lol. Food justice is such a big thing to me because I feel like a lot of times the majority of people just brush it off, but this is our FOOD. Its one of the few things we all need everyday, so how can we not care? :/

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