Monsanto lobbies for no safety testing on new gene destroying spray

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lobbyist-handshake(NaturalHealth365) Just as the true ecological impact of its earlier products is coming to light, Monsanto has announced plans to bring yet another biotechnology experiment to the farm field. This time, the chemical giant’s focus is on a new biotechnology – RNA interference.

Yet, interference is exactly what Monsanto is hoping to avoid, when it comes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The problem is, Monsanto can’t guarantee that their new product won’t also wipe out other living things, including helpful insects, earthworms and the occasional woodland creature. The company is even employing expert spokespersons to brush aside concerns under the cloak of science.

This is a dangerous search for new revenue steams

GMOs have attracted more controversy than the company likely anticipated. Meanwhile, the company’s older flagship products are losing effectiveness thanks to evolving resistance by weeds and insects. It comes as no surprise, then, that Monsanto is hoping to launch an entirely different product line – one it can set apart from its conventional GMO line because these products don’t change a plant’s genes, it controls them.

The discovery of RNA interference earned two academics a Nobel Prize back in 2006, setting off a flurry of activity to use the technology to create drugs that block disease-causing genes. But that same biotechnology is now being used by Monsanto to roll out its new product for farmers.

The Monsanto product works by getting harmful bugs to consume plant leaves containing the special RNA, which then kills them by turning off critical genes. Once it has fine-tuned this first application of the biotechnology, the company is expected to develop similar products in spray form that are able to penetrate plant cells and bring about desirable traits.

Truth: This is a dangerous game of messing around with the ecosystem

RNA may be natural, but introducing enormous amounts of targeted RNA molecules into the environment is not. Monsanto has already left its giant footprint on the environment with the evolution of resistant pests and weeds, thanks to the company’s past bioengineered pesticides. Very little is known about the effects of pests consuming plants treated with the gene-manipulating RNA interference product.

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked a panel of experts to help it decide how to regulate RNA insecticides, including sprays as well as those incorporated into a plant’s genes. No doubt hoping to avoid another controversy like the one brewing over its GMO products, Monsanto reacted by sending an 81-page letter of reassurance to the agency.

In it, the chemical giant lobbied against development of any special rules for the development and sale of RNA interference products. Instead, it made the case for sparing RNA interference products from safety tests.

Does Monsanto really care about safety?

Calling such precautions irrelevant, Monsanto sought to eliminate investigations designed to determine whether its products caused allergies or were toxic to rodents. It also sought to avoid an evaluation of what happens to the molecules once they have been introduced into the environment.

Yet, while Monsanto was working to downplay any dangers, groups like the National Honey Bee Advisory Board advised the EPA that using RNA interference products at this point would put natural systems at “the epitome of risk,” a move it said could be as regrettable as the earlier embrace of DDT. Beekeepers are concerned for the welfare of pollinating bees, which they believe will be harmed by unintended effects of the RNA interference products.

They pointed out that the genomes of many insects aren’t even known, making it impossible to predict whether an unintended insect could be targeted. They also noted the void of scientific understanding over the sustainability and predictable use of the biotechnology under field conditions.

References:
http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/08/coming-farm-field-near-you-gene-silencing-pesticides-RNA-RNAi
https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/new-monsanto-spray-kills-bugs-messing-their-genes
http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/540136/the-next-great-gmo-debate

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  • Laura R

    Yes ,they care about safety. They care about the safety of their portfolio. As their products fail they will be in the labs creating a new item to bring to market. Who is going to stop them?

  • Karl

    Welcome to the new world created by Monsanto. In fact if they keep going we may not recognize it. Plans,insects and even animals may change in ways that we don’t understand. Who would think anyone would have the power to do that.

  • shotofhealth

    This is just absolute madness. Wake up people! Monsanto is just evil beyond words. It has already destroyed people, land, crops and seeds in the name of ‘feeding the world’. What more must we endure?! I’ve just started reading “Seeds of Destruction” and as the author quite rightly points out, Monsanto cannot claim “substantial equivalence” [to normal food] for its seeds and then obtain a patent because it is unique! Wake up people, wake up!!

  • concerned

    It’s just totally disgusting. It is really beyond my belief as to how this company and others like it get away with murder. They need to be shut down with their toxic crap. Period.

    • d-dectiri

      Ya know, back when kings issued corporate licenses to groups with special projects seen by the king as potentially beneficial, well if the king later saw that what they were actually doing was a violation of his trust in them, he simply withdrew their right to exist as a corporate entity… end of subsidies and authorizations, as well…

      Americans with their revolution took on that ‘sovereign’ responsibility, so shall we see if we can end their right to exist as a corporate entity, ever again, identifying those with signing authority in that entity and marking them for felony-loss-of-rights…. shall we??? ttyl

  • vcragain

    None of these ‘constructed’. synthesized, compounded chemicals are really proven safe with REAL science (which takes many years) and many of the extra chemicals added in any part of the food chain will remain in the system forever and accumulate if they do not break down into safe substances. What is the matter with these people, this is THEIR planet too, do they care so much for the almighty dollar that they would endanger their own grandchildren’s world ? ABSOLUTELY CRAZY & SELFISH !

  • No, honey, it’s not a search for new revenue streams. It’s a search for a new way to destroy life – including human life. Why don’t they just go to Mars where it’s already barren?

  • C. Okojie

    Who is to say that after the RNA interference that kills the bugs won’t also kill the birds, etc., who eat them? Perhaps a few of those bugs enter our food chain and either cause disease or outright kill us.
    How can we stop this from happening, when it will be widespread in our environment?
    They should not be able to take these products out of the lab without extensive research on total environmental effects reviews by outside companies.

  • It’s pretty frightening that it appears the only way to stop this insanity is to step outside normal courses of action. I mean, even all the awareness of GMO issues hasn’t stopped the proliferation of the frankencrops or the US federal agencies acting as pimps for the garbage….It’s much worse than garbage, so that is a euphemism.