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US State Dept promotes global genetically modified seed agenda



by Joseph Earnest May 20, 2013


Newscast Media WASHINGTONIn the past decade, the United States has aggressively pursued foreign policies in food and agriculture that benefit the largest seed companies, according to extensive research by Food & Water Watch. The U.S. State Department has launched a concerted strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology, often over the opposition of the public and governments, to the near exclusion of other more sustainable, more appropriate agricultural policy alternatives. 

Food & Water Watch closely examined five years of State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the strategy, tactics and U.S. foreign policy objectives to foist pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide.

The report says the State Department targeted foreign reporters, hosted and coordinated pro-biotech conferences and public events and brought foreign opinion-makers to the United States on high-profile junkets to improve the image of agricultural biotechnology overseas and overcome widespread public opposition to genetically engineered crops and foods.

The diplomatic cables document a coordinated effort to lobby countries in the developing world to pass legislation and implement regulations favored by the biotech seed industry. This study examines the State Department lobbying campaigns in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria to pass pro-biotech laws.

 Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience and Dow Agrochemical, are the leading biotech companies in the world.



 A Newscast Media presentation

In the United States, agricultural biotechnology dominates corn, soybean and cotton production, but most countries have not adopted genetically engineered crops. Biotech or GE crops, also known as genetically modified organisms(GMOs).

By 2009, nearly all (93 percent) of U.S. soybeans and four-fifths (80 percent) of U.S. corn cultivated were grown from GE seeds covered by Monsanto patents.

You may download the entire report here. (pop-up).

The majority of European consumers opposed GE crops, according to a 2010 survey. There was widespread consumer resistance in Germany and absolutely no demand from consumers or producers for biotech crops in Austria. Despite the embassy’s efforts to eventually wear down Hungary’s resistance, the public has shown no sign of changing their minds about the ban on biotech corn.

In 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted, "I know that GMOs are not popular around the world."

Consumers worldwide want to know what is in their food, but biotech companies and food manufacturers would rather keep consumers in the dark about the contents of their grocery carts. The State Department has lobbied against efforts to require labeling of biotech foods, according to the report.   Add Comments>>










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