(Source) - Recent news regarding Monsanto's activity are looking grim - to say the least. At first, we found out that USDA is forcing "Whole Foods Market" (top seller in organic foods) to embrace Monsanto's genetically engineered products, only to later discover that Monsanto's power seems limitless, after 2 FOX News Reporters found themselves jobless for investigating Monsanto's cancer-causing milk products.
Today's stories look somehow encouraging, but without further results, it may honestly be too little - too late. Monsanto is already a giant of genetically engineered seed, having 90% of the GMO market in USA. The European Union was able to successfully block Monsanto until now, but my question is 'for how long'? Probably until those voting against GMO products in the EU Parliament will begin to see personal benefits (?) in making them available in Europe.
I. Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France
By Marion Douet
PARIS | Mon Feb 13, 2012
(Reuters) - "A French court on Monday declared U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.
In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.
He blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.
The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, southeast France, which ordered an expert opinion of Francois's losses to establish the sum of damages.
Lawyers for Monsanto could not immediately be reached for comment.
Previous health claims from farmers have foundered because of the difficulty of establishing clear links between illnesses and exposure to pesticides.
"I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this," Francois, 47, told Reuters.
He and other farmers suffering from illness set up an association last year to make a case that their health problems should be linked to their use of crop protection products.
The agricultural branch of the French social security system says that since 1996, it has gathered farmers' reports of sickness potentially related to pesticides, with about 200 alerts a year.
But only about 47 cases have been recognised as due to pesticides in the past 10 years. Francois, who suffers from neurological problems, obtained work invalidity status only after a court appeal.
LESS INTENSIVE NOW
The Francois case goes back to a period of intensive use of crop-protection chemicals in the European Union. The EU and its member countries have since banned a large number of substances considered dangerous.
Monsanto's Lasso was banned in France in 2007 following an EU directive after the product had already been withdrawn in some other countries.
France, the EU's largest agricultural producer, is now targetting a 50 percent reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4 percent cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010.
The Francois claim may be easier to argue than others because he can pinpoint a specific incident - inhaling the Lasso when cleaning the tank of his crop sprayer - whereas fellow farmers are trying to show accumulated effects from various products.
"It's like lying on a bed of thorns and trying to say which one cut you," said a farmer, who has recovered from prostate cancer and asked not to be named.
The French association of crop protection companies, UIPP, says pesticides are all subject to testing and that any evidence of a cancer risk in humans leads to withdrawal of productsfrom the market.
"I think if we had a major health problem with pesticides, we would have already known about it," Jean-Charles Bocquet, UIPP's managing director, said.
The social security's farming branch this year is due to add Parkinson's disease to its list of conditions related to pesticide use after already recognising some cases of blood cancers and bladder and respiratory problems.
France's health and environment safety agency (ANSES), meanwhile, is conducting a study on farmers' health, with results expected next year."
(Writing by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Muriel Boselli, Sybille de La Hamaide and Jane Baird)
II. 300,000 farmers hope for lawsuit against Monsanto
(RT News) - "Around 300,000 organic farmers think that Monsanto, the biotech giant known for genetically modifying Mother Nature’s handwork for profit and pushing over the little guys all the while, is pretty seedy.
Now a judge in New York is debating if Monsanto’s questionable methods will go before a jury.
Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District Court of New York says she will have a decision on March 31 in regards to whether a lawsuit waged against the mega-corporation Monsanto should make it to trial.
Last year, 270,000 organic farmers from around 60 family farms tried to take Monsanto to court over issues pertaining to a genetically-modified seed masterminded by the corporation. Not only were the smaller farms concerned over how the manufactured seeds had been carried by wind and creature alike onto their own plantations, but the biggest problem perhaps was that Monsanto was filing lawsuits themselves against farmers.
Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature. Unable to afford a proper defense, competing small farms have been bought out by the company in droves. As a result, Monsanto saw their profits increase by the hundreds of millions over the last few years as a result. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with a so-called “seed police.”
Farmers have been concerned that unless Monsanto is stopped, their reign over the world’s agriculture will surpass anything imaginable. They are seeking pre-emptive protection from those questionable lawsuits and next month Judge Buchwald will weigh in on if the matter should go to trial.
Her honor recently listened to oral arguments on Monsanto’s Motion to Dismiss, which the corporation hopes to win to cease the charges being brought by a total of 83 plaintiffs representing now over 300,000 organic farm-affiliated businesses. The legal team for the small-time farmers also offered their arguments.
“Monsanto's threats and abuse of family farmers stops here,” says Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “Monsanto's genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace — to decide what kind of food they will feed their families — and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose.”
Elizabeth Archerd, the director of a Minneapolis food co-op, adds in support of the farmers to the New York Times, “Pollen and DNA do not play by the USDA’s rules.”
Although hundreds of thousands of farmers feel the same way, it’ll take a judge to decide the next step in the case. From there though, things could get dirty. Michael Taylor, a former attorney for the US Department of Agriculture and lobbyist for Monsanto was recently appointed to a federal role as the deputy commissioner for foods at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, the FDA has refused requests to label genetically modified products as such despite demands from consumer protection groups."