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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Your Right to Know

Centre Daily Times (State College, PA)

March 12, 2008
Page: 8


Monsanto, its customers and its academic spokespeople, bless them, don't want us poor, illiterate consumers -- and again, don't you love being characterized by what you use up and throw out? -- to be confused by all those fancy, scientific words on food labels. You know the ones. Synthetic hormones. Genetically altered. Words and phrases like that. Unnecessary information, and misleading besides. After all, Monsanto and its official government arm, the Food and Drug Administration, have already determined that what these unnecessary and misleading words refer to are completely safe.

Honest. What you don't know, can't hurt you. Trust them. Or, if you insist on knowing how your food was produced -- whether the cows that gave your milk were injected with (perfectly safe, according to the FDA) hormones that some scientists aren't quite certain about, or the cereal you pour it over was made with Roundup-Ready, structurally modified grain -- you will be vilified. Many people, in fact, would like that information. But all that mumbo-jumbo on milk-carton labels just confuses people, our intellectual and agri-corporate superiors inform us. They'll tell us what we need to know. The artificial hormone marketed and sold by Monsanto improves milk production -- about a gallon per day per cow. "We know it's a technology that makes us money and is safe for our cows," a Kansas dairy farmer and co-chairman of American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, said. That independent, "grass-roots" group, incidentally, was organized in part by Monsanto and a Colorado consultant who lists the agribusiness giant as a client, as a recent New York Times report noted. Even the grass and its roots, it appears, are structurally modified. If dairy farmers want to use the bovine growth hormone, that's fine. It's not illegal. Heck, the FDA says it is entirely safe. But if people don't want to drink milk from injected cows, even if they have to pay more for it, that's fine, too. In fact, it's more than fine. It is their fundamental right to know what it is they are putting into their bodies and those of their children. The same with herbicide-resistant grain or cloned meat. To say that it is too confusing to include "produced without synthetic hormones" or "natural" or "organic" on labels or that such labeling somehow implies that hormone-free is better ... And to say that consumers -- that lovely term again -- can't be trusted to tell the difference and determine for themselves what they want ... Well, that artificially alters the structure of something else that many still consider to be important. The truth.

Copyright (c) 2008 Centre Daily Times

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