ACCORDING TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, GLYSOPHATE—THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN MONSANTO’S ROUNDUP—IS PROBABLY A CARCINOGEN
GIVEN THE SCALE OF ROUNDUP’S USE IN THE U.S. THIS MEANS WE’VE BEEN POISONING OUR SOIL ON A SCALE THAT IS HARD TO COMPREHEND—AND WE CONTINUE TO DO SO.
Many of the problems with our food chain—such as the poor quality of Fast Food (and most centrally prepared food used by restaurants in general) and the fact that excessive quantities of salt, fat, sugar, and chemicals being added to over-processed food—are widely known (if inadequately acted upon) but the glyphosate issue is one that does not get the attention it deserves.
Glyphosate is the main active ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and is much used with GM (genetically modified) crops. The GM modified crops can be sprayed but only the weeds die. The kicker, of course, is not only have you got to buy Roundup, itself—but also the GM seeds. You have become the captive customer of a monopoly.
Another problem is that, over time, more and more weeds have become immune to Roundup. This wasn’t supposed to happen—but it has.
It deserves special attention because it is so ubiquitous. Roundup is now so widely applied that glyphosate is pervasive and almost impossible to avoid—even if you make a conscious decision to do so. It is used almost universally where corn and soy are grown—and both corn and soy are added to numerous processed foods (even foods where you would not suspect their presence).
Monsanto have long argued that Roundup is safe and glyphosate degrades so fast it poses no heath hazard—but ever increasing evidence argues to the contrary. Beyond that, it is quite clear that neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Food and Drug Administration have either researched or regulated Roundup adequately. Corporate power is now such that it seems increasingly able to defy regulations—and to blunt investigations.
Though the evidence against it seems to be increasing, I don’t profess to know the truth of the Roundup situation. I have become convinced that the U.S. Food Chain is deeply flawed and hazardous to our health—but apart from taking reasonable precautions and writing about it, I’m not quite sure what else I can do except continue to monitor it.
I do note repeatedly that Americans live shorter lives than the citizens of many other developed nations—by about three years—and are sicker while they live. I also note that there has been a significant increase in medical conditions in the U.S. across the spectrum over the last few decades.
We then come to the sobering fact that the nutritional quality of much of our food has deteriorated massively. An apple today lacks the quantity of trace elements which an apple of half a century ago possessed. Since our bodies require such trace elements, we have yet another health issue here. We have the illusion of nutrition but not the reality—and suffer the consequences. Our immune systems are not as robust, for example.
The good news is that a great deal can be done to remedy the situation—and we now know that regenerative agriculture can grow the vast quantities of food we need as efficiently as monoculture (if not more so). However, those who profit from the status quo—such as Monsanto—like things just fine the way they are.
In fact, Big Agriculture and Big Food fight bitterly and often effectively against our knowing exactly what is in our food. The opposition to foodstuffs being labeled GM is a recent example of this.
It is interesting to note that almost all America’s current problems, from corruption of the political process, to financialization, to militarization to healthcare, to the poor quality of our food chain, can be traced to unchecked corporate power. The issue is less capitalism as such, but our form of it.
Are we doing anything about it?
In Europe, yes.
In the U.S. no.
VOR words 655.