Monsanto Co. was the center of protest news over the weekend due to a global protest rally sparked through social media.
Backers of the protests claim there were 2 million people involved in 436 cities on Saturday. Those numbers, an average of 4,500 people per rally, don't hold based on the reports on Sunday. Still, there were some large rally photos from a few major cities. Most major news websites posted the same Associated Press piece about the rallies.
People protested genetic engineered crops, the lack of biotech labeling on food products and protested harming the bees.
On social media, well, let's just say there's a conspiracy out there tying Monsanto to just about everything but the Benghazi scandal. Give it time and I'm pretty sure someone will make that connection as well.
Beyond the numbers, it's still surprising to see the level of activism directed at one company and technology created primarily to help increase annual crop production.
The New York Times approached the issue over the weekend with a story about more food companies trying to find baking ingredients that are not from genetically engineered crops. Companies also were trying to determine the value proposition of going non-biotech and labeling their own products as such. The push for certification for food suppliers started going through the roof this spring after Whole Foods announced it would convert its stores to requiring labels for foods with biotech ingredients. http://dld.bz/…
The New York Times piece neglected to note the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to allow states the ability to require labeling. Sanders offered the amendment, he said, because the law isn't clear whether states can allow "GMO free" labels, or require labeling for foods made with ingredients for biotech crops. Despite a growing push in state legislatures, the vote failed on Thursday, 71 to 27.
Yet, Whole Foods has put its stamp on the farm bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., talked to members of the Organic Trade Association on the afternoon her committee passed the farm bill to the Senate floor. Stabenow told OTA members she had already talked that day to Walter Robb, president and chief operating officer of Whole Foods, about the organic checkoff being approved in committee. Both the Senate and House farm bills have provisions that would give USDA authority to create an organic checkoff program.
A Time magazine piece on the rallies attributed Robert Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, saying the company will hold a "bee summit" in June looking at the colony collapse problems.
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