Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

I'm reading a very interesting book right now, Twinkie Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger, which takes the ingredient list for Twinkies and looks at where each ingredient comes from, how it's made, etc.

The baking powder (the same one we use all the time) contains phosphorus - an ingredient which, when it comes into contact with oxygen bursts into flame... OK, well, it's not in its pure liquid form in baking powder, but still, really bizarre.

However it's this little paragraph that really caught my attention:

"Indeed, this is what innocuous, everyday baking powerder is made of, but most of this elemental phosphorus is used to make acid for Monsanto's Roundup, the most common herbicide in the world (the one that Monsanto's genetically modified corn and soybean plants resist)..."

So farmers use this herbicide and then must use Monsanto's grain (soy, corn, canola) in order to actually have a crop that can survive the weed killer. It seems Monsanto basically owns most of the grain used in the world today.

They. Own. The. SEEDS!!!

That freaks me right the fuck out.

Not only do they own the grain farmers plant but farmers cannot use saved seed for the following year because it violates Monsanto's patent. And Monsanto is taking farmers to court, sueing them millions.... Check this out and this. They're even patenting animals.

Of course I had already heard about Monsanto's way of doing business, but today it really hit home. They pretty much own our food sources now. How can this have happened?

Seriously. How?

While I was looking for an image to illustrate this post, I came across this blog Marginal Notes. (The image comes from this blog, but seems to be floating around the internet. Who knows who it belongs to.)


XUP said...

It's a long and winding story, but basically it's our own fault because we're lazy and didn't want to grow our own food and then didn't want to cook our own food and wanted everything faster and bigger and cheaper and so we gave over control of our food to aliens. HOWEVER, we can fight to regain control by buying as local as possible, organic food directly from farmers. What you can't find you can get from places like The Grain & Salt Society (

A Happy Downtowner said...

Wow, that is scary, I didn't know about Monsanto. I agree with buying local and organic. We're lucky in the downtown area to have more and more organic locally grown food (well, as locally as can be). I prefer to support my area more and more now.

Dave said...

There is so much we don't know about which goes on behind closed doors. I have to agree with xup that we have gotten ourselves into these fine messes.

We can fight back but it has to be a concerted effort. Time will tell.

ticknart said...

The problem isn't that we want to grow crops that can yield more food each year. It's that so many people use Round-up and it kills everything, even the crops we want to thrive, unless the crops have been modified by Monsanto. If farms, all over the world, decided not to use Round-up, then no one would have to worry about Monsanto's controlling nature.

The problem is that Monsanto likes selling its chemicals so much that it had to modify crops to resist. Then plants start cross pollinating and the weeds become resistant so Monsanto gets to make stronger chemicals and new forms of resistant crops. Guess what happens next.

More food around the world is a good thing.

Chemicals that destroy all plant life except for very select crops controlled by one company which is protected by federal law and the Fourteenth Amendment, in the USA at least, is a very bad thing.

Ian Lidster said...

The crux of it is, we could (and should) fight back about so many things, all the way from our food sources, pricing real estate away from regular folks and only making decent housing available for the rich fucks, to gasoline prices. Check the profits the petroleum companies are making these days? That's all on our backs, folks, and then we can swallow higher prices for everything as long as the stockholders of 'big oil' are doing OK. God, you got me going this morning, girl.

Em said...

Now I'm really mad about Monsanto. I had no idea they were this embedded in our food cycle. Power to the people...more local farmers, more local food, more organic products.

Rachel said...

I dont like thinking about things like this. the stress will give me ulcers.

so in that vein: LA LA LA! I cant hear you.

geewits said...

La La La La I need another beer. I wonder where the hops came from?

Jazz said...

XUP - I try. I go to the monthly organic farmers market up at the cottage which will become weekly in late june... I just wish we lived in a climate where we could get local produce year round...

HD - Might not change much, but if more and more of us demand organic non genetically modified food, maybe we'll get it.

Ticknart - Appparently the jury is out on the high yield frankencrops. It seems the yield is not really higher than regular crops. Who knows...

Ian - Damn! I hit a nerve there, eh?

Em - And the farmers are the low man on the totem pole, so they pay. I was listening to a potato farmer on the radio the other day, and they get practically nothing for their crops - a price is imposed by the food chains and distributers and they get probably $0.20 on a dollar - and they have to shoulder the high prices of gas and other assorted crap. I don't know why they do it.

Rachel - But it's too late. The seed (not a frankenseed) is planted. Get thee to the farmer's market.

Geewits - Just drink the beer. You don't want to know what's in it... Really.

Anonymous said...

My God, that is horrifying. I've become increasing depressed about corporate control of so much of our world. Big pharma making meds outrageously expenive for us and virtually unavailable to developing nations, the energy industries preventing the development of resources they can't control, and so on and so on. It just ties me up in knots.