Week 2 – Altering Food

My first thought after reading the headline of the article, Monsanto is going organic in the quest for the perfect veggie, was “they are trying to make Frankenstein food.” The controversy surrounding this company alone immediately signals a red flag for me. Monsanto reminds me of Ashley Madison.

Perhaps it is the way the article was written, suggesting that the Monsanto officials and breeders (they aren’t referred to as farmers or researchers) are convinced that the produce they are generating is superior to what grows naturally. I won’t purchase their produce because I don’t trust their values as a company. Apart from that personal issue, I gather that the company is driven to obtain market share not necessarily put on the market foods that meet nutritional requirements or are safe. Monsanto is creating these hybrid fruits and vegetables that are not sustainable nor certifiably nutritious – they look good though!

Quoting the article: “It’s good for business.” “…the law doesn’t require Monsanto to account for potential long-term effects. (The FDA considers all additive-free, conventionally bred produce to be safe.)

Quoting a Monsanto official: “The goal is to get the products recognized by the consumer, trusted, and purchased,” “That’s what I really want. I want to grow sales.” “For his part, Stark hopes that when Monsanto’s affiliation with some of its best sellers becomes more widely known, the company might win back some trust.”

I started typing this blog post before finishing the article. I am shocked to now note that my initial response to their efforts was accurate. This entire endeavor is being masked with the term “organic”, which suggests that it is better suited for consumption. The term by itself is a perfect marketing platform.

Definition: organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

We (consumers of food) have come to crossroads here. We acknowledge that there are issues with the unnatural methods used in farming over the past few decades and with this information&/misinformation, we want to make better choices about what we consume. At the moment, most of us rely on packaging to tell us if the product is healthier. This means that we have to be trusting of the packaging, the claims, the production, the research and everyone that played a role in getting that packaged product to us. But what is clear after reading these articles is that the research and motives of the companies cannot always be trusted — we should pay closer attention and naturally, demand improvements.

The article We Need A New Green Revolution explained; “History has shown that science can solve the nation’s agriculture and food production problems, but to do so, the American system of food and agricultural research must be substantially reinvigorated.” Before I can accept new ways of creating food (GMO, cloning and crossbreeding) as solutions to issues that plague agriculture I demand that the powers explore alternatives that have no doubt been researched and presented by academics and agriculture gurus. Methods that allow us to make use of sea water in agriculture, revamp practices that accounts for the growing population and environmental changes. Basically, try to fix what is wrong with the system by working with what we have, first. The powers created the problems and know how to fix it — but alas, fixing doesn’t add enough to their bottom line.

2 thoughts on “Week 2 – Altering Food”

  1. Excellent attention to detail Nikita (i.e the use of the term breeders!) – and you have landed on one of the strongest arguments against large scale farming – which is the bottom line. Not that a focus on the bottom line is wrong – but if that is the only motivation – humans, animals and the environment suffers. But a B Corporation = that emphasizes a triple bottom line – positive impact on the society and environment as well as profits.

    One way to “demand improvements” is to lead with our dollars – support B Corporations when we can, buy from sustainable vendors, refuse to patron stores that don’t align with these values as often as we can. If companies are driven by their bottom line – its up to us to move that line into a location that does better by us.

  2. I am motivated to seek alternatives to food that support a system that is in favor of me living! Meaning, knowledge is power. If knowledge of these alternatives i.e. the B Corporations is more widely acknowledged, I (and others) would no doubt do our part to participate in the movement for change.

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