GM/GE Food : LUSENET : ACountryPlace : One Thread

I received this today on an e-mail list. This is about corporate control. Monsanto and other companies do not want consumers to have a choice between frankenfood and real food. They don't want this at all costs because they know that consumers will choose good healthy food grown from the earth rather than a laboratory. Someone has to put a stop to their manipulation of the food chain. I should have the right to feed my children what I want to feed my children.

Little Bit Farm ----- Original Message ----- From: To: Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 3:37 PM Subject: Monsanto Sues Small Maine Dairy for Advertising Its Milk as 'Artificial Growth Hormone-free'...

> Could you please consider sharing this information with your members > and asking them to protest to Monsanto? Thanks for considering it. And, > > sorry for so lengthy a message. Below are Monsanto contacts -- if you > want to let them know you object! The articles that follow explain this > outrage. > > > Monsanto Corporation > Media Contacts: > Lori Fisher 314-694-8535 > Scarlett Lee Foster 314-694-8148 (investors) > Matthew Harbaugh 314-694-7867 (investors) > > 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd. > St. Louis, MO 63167 > (314) 694-1000 > FAX: (314) 694-4903 > > Email: > > Sarah S. Hull > Senior Vice President, Public Affairs > > Frank AtLee III > Chairman of the Board > > Hugh Grant > President and Chief Executive Officer > > > Monsanto Company Law Team > Barbara Bunning-Stevens > Copyright Law > > 800 North Lindbergh Blvd. > E2NA > St. Louis, MO 63167 > > > Monsanto Sues Small Maine Dairy for Advertising Its Milk as 'Artificial > Growth Hormone-free'... > > Wednesday, July 9, 2003 by the Portland Press Herald (Maine) > Lawsuit Reflects Fight Over Altered Food > by Edward D. Murphy > > Monsanto Corp.'s decision to sue Oakhurst Dairy this week highlights an > emerging battle over the widespread use of genetically altered food. > > So far, consumers seem to be moving to the side that favors "food that > has not been modified by somebody going in and monkeying about with the > genes," said Kevin Coupe, a retail analyst who produces the Web site > > > "One of the biggest (food) categories right now is natural and organic > foods," Coupe said. "There's a reason why it's growing." > > Still, Coupe said consumers in the United States are generally less > concerned by genetic modifications to foods than those in Europe, where > many countries have banned the import of food that's been altered by > biotechnology. > > Food is genetically altered for a number of reasons, such as improving > yields, extending shelf lives or increasing resistance to insects or > plant diseases. > > Most of the modifications produce benefits beyond greater yields, > including reduced use of pesticides, less waste or less need for > irrigation. > > In many ways, genetic engineering resembles the process of > cross-breeding plants that agriculture has perfected for years as a way > to create improve crops. In the case of genetic modifications, however, > the work is done in the laboratory, not the field, and can involve > moving genes from one species to another. > > Monsanto, one of the country's largest biotechnology firms, announced > this week that it is suing Oakhurst Dairy of Portland because the dairy > markets the fact that its milk comes from farmers who pledge not to > give artificial growth hormones to their cows. > > Monsanto said the hormones, which it manufactures, don't produce milk > any different from milk produced by cows that aren't fed the hormones. > Oakhurst's marketing pitch, Monsanto claims, suggests otherwise and > deceives consumers. > > Douglas Johnson, ( > executive director of the Stonington-based Maine Biotechnology > Information Bureau, said much of the opposition to genetically altered > foods is based on "junk science." > > "As long as the plants have been through the (testing) process and are > demonstrated to be safe for human consumption and benign to the > environment, it should be allowed to be sold," Johnson said. "This > argument is more about philosophy than science, and if its a > philosophical one, the government ought to stay out of it." > > Both Coupe and Johnson agree that labeling food with more information > about how it was produced would be beneficial. > > "People ought to be free to eat whatever they want - and they ought to > know what it is," Johnson said. > > Coupe said Monsanto's lawsuit suggests that there's something wrong > with using hormones that the company doesn't want consumers to know > about. > > "The last thing we need as consumers in this country is companies that > don't want to tell us something," he said. "They're saying, 'Do it our > way, or we'll sue you.' " > > Coupe said consumers want to know where their food comes from, whether > it's been genetically altered in any way and how it was grown. Fears of > bioterrorism are also on people's minds. > > "People are very concerned about what they put in their mouths and what > they feed their kids," he said. "Part of it, you could trace back to > Sept. 11, but it also predates that." > > He said much of that concern comes about because people can learn about > the arguments over genetic alterations quickly, on the Internet, and > they may be worried about the long-term implications. > > Other consumers, he said, don't want to do the research, but they also > don't want to take chances with the food they eat and opt for organic > brands. > > Chains such as Wild Oats appeal to both groups by saying, " 'We have > food that hasn't been messed with and therefore it's better for you.' > Because it's such an unambiguous message, you don't have to figure it > out," Coupe said. "There's something to be said for simplicity." > > But Johnson said that attitude is simplistic in a world where there's > not enough food. > > "It's really becoming a question of whether we can feed the 9 billion > people that are going to be here by 2050, and the answer is, without > this technology, we can't," he said. > > Johnson said most genetically altered foods end up in processed foods, > such as those containing soy-based oils or some corn products. He said > there are some estimates that 60 percent of the food sold in the United > States contains ingredients that have been genetically modified. > > "You find that, certainly, there are unknowns, but the risk-assessment > system has found that the benefits outweigh the risks," Johnson said. > "When you talk about feeding the world, organic doesn't even fit it. > There are too many people who don't have any food at all." > > Copyright Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc. > > > > > Tuesday, July 8, 2003 by the Portland Press Herald (Maine) > Oakhurst Sued by Monsanto Over Milk Advertising > by Matt Wickenheiser > > Biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. has sued Oakhurst Dairy of Portland, > saying Oakhurst's claim that its milk doesn't contain any artificial > growth hormones is essentially misleading. > > Monsanto, based in Missouri, claims there is no scientific proof that > the milk is any different from that produced by cows that have been > treated with the hormones. > > "We believe Oakhurst labels deceive consumers; they're marketing a > perception that one milk product is safer or of higher quality than > other milk," said Jennifer Garrett, director of technical services for > Monsanto's dairy business. "Numerous scientific and regulatory reviews > throughout the world demonstrate that that's unfounded. The milk is the > same, and the amount of protein, fats, nutrients, etc., are all the > same." > > The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, demands that Oakhurst > stop advertising that it doesn't use milk from hormone-treated cows. It > also asks that the dairy stop putting labels reading "Our Farmers' > Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones" on its milk jugs. > > This is the first such suit in a decade filed by Monsanto. But it's > related to the global debate about genetically engineered foods. Most > of Europe has banned the import or production of what opponents call > "Frankenfoods." Biotechnology researchers and corporations say that > scientific advances boost productivity to levels that could help ease > global hunger. > > Although the Food and Drug Administration approved the bovine growth > hormone, or BGH, Canada and the European Union have banned it. Some > organizations and consumers who oppose use of artificial growth > hormones claim they are linked to breast cancer and premature puberty > in children. > > Monsanto is the nation's largest producer of the synthetically produced > hormone, which enhances milk production. Five years ago, Oakhurst began > to make sure all of its milk comes from farms that pledge in writing > every six months with a notarized affidavit that they won't use the > hormones on their herds, said Stanley T. Bennett II, president of the > dairy. > > "Consumers have let us know since the advent of these artificial growth > hormones that they don't want to have to worry about (them). If > consumers tell us they don't want anything added to the milk, or if > they have a concern about something, we're going to respond to them as > a company," said Bennett. > > "We have said from the beginning that we make no claims to understand > the science involved with artificial growth hormones," he said. "We're > in the business of marketing milk, not Monsanto's drugs." > > The labeling is a market distinguisher for Oakhurst, said Bennett, and > is so important to the dairy that it pays a premium of 20 cents on > every 100 pounds of milk for the notarized guarantee. That would amount > to $500,000 in 2002, when Oakhurst processed 250 million pounds of > milk. > > Lee Quarles, a spokesman for the Missouri company, said the suit was > filed because Monsanto believes Oakhurst's ads and labels are deceptive > and also disparaged Monsanto's products with the inference that milk > from untreated cows was better than milk from hormone- treated cows. > Oakhurst was also stepping up its advertising and marketing efforts in > recent months, leading to the lawsuit, said Quarles. > > "If in fact they are attempting to stop us from using our labeling, I > think it strikes me as very odd that somebody could conceivably > prohibit a company from telling people what's not in their product," > said Bennett. "On principle, it's also a question of free speech. The > world seems a little bit discombobulated when somebody attempts to > prohibit you from trying to do the right thing." > > According to Monsanto's Garrett, an independent market study conducted > in Massachusetts shopping malls showed that more than two-thirds of the > 300 people surveyed thought that milk with the Oakhurst labels was > healthier to drink than milk without such labels. Sixty percent of > those surveyed thought Oakhurst milk was safer to drink, Garrett said. > > Bennett said his small dairy, which employs 240 and had $85 million in > sales last year, has been ignored by Monsanto until recently. He > speculated that the attention may come because other, larger milk > producers are considering taking similar anti-hormone steps in their > marketing campaigns. > > In 2002, Monsanto had net sales of $4.7 billion, net losses of $1.7 > billion and working assets of $8.9 billion. > > Quarles said Monsanto has not filed similar lawsuits against other > dairies, but wouldn't say whether more were planned. Monsanto filed > similar suits against two dairies in Illinois about 10 years ago, said > Quarles, and both were settled out of court under confidential terms. > > The suit against Oakhurst claims unfair competition, unfair business > practices and interference with advantageous business relationships. > According to the suit, the business relationships between Monsanto and > dairy producers who use the artificial growth hormone have suffered > because the farmers will stop using the treatments. Garrett wouldn't > say whether any of Monsanto's customers have stopped the treatments > because of Oakhurst's marketing practices. > > This isn't the first time Monsanto has had issues with dairy product > labeling in Maine. Earlier this year, Attorney General Steven Rowe > rejected a request by the company that Maine abandon its Quality > Trademark Seal program that indicates when milk is free of artificial > growth hormones. > > Monsanto argued that the seal, adopted in 1994, misleads consumers into > thinking that hormone-free milk is superior to milk using an artificial > growth hormone. Both Oakhurst and H.P. Hood dairies use the seal to > promote their products.

-- Little Bit Farm (, July 16, 2003

Moderation questions? read the FAQ