Japan, TPP, Monsanto, food labeling, and patent infringement lawsuits

One of the interesting aspects of Monsanto’s push to sow its genetically engineered seeds across the world is the issue of contamination.  Cross pollination of crops is not something anyone can control.  So an organic farmer who sits adjacent or downwind from a field of GMO crops can easily become contaminated.

This causes several problems for the organic farmer.  GE seeds do not reproduce viable seeds for the next year.  So, farmers who count on being able to plant next year from this year’s crops will find that their contaminated crops do not yield sufficient viable seeds.  Monsanto sees this as a feature and not a problem as their intent is to force farmers to purchase GE seeds each year, ensuring a continuous market for their products.  Organic farmers would not be able to sell their contaminated crops as organic, which pretty much destroys their ability to make a supportive profit from their farms.

Worse, however, are patent laws which protect Monsanto.  Of course, these patent laws will be part of the TPP free trade agreement.

Over the past decade, Monsanto’s aggressive marketing tactics, political lobbying and promises of increased yields has swept the farming world by storm. Farmers who refused to make the switch to Monsanto’s expensive seed and chemicals were seen as outcasts. As the wave of GM crops spread, many independent farmers who did not buy the hype but were found to have patented genes in their fields were ruined by expensive lawsuits brought on by Monsanto’s army of litigious lawyers.

From Food Democracy Now:

In many cases farmers are forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. Due to these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.

So, the winds, bees, butterflies, and birds, which are part of the pollination process and owe no allegiance to either side, contaminate the organic farmer’s crops and ruin his business and then Monsanto sues the farmer for growing crops containing their patented genes.

Our lawyer did a good job explaining the current injustice farmers face. We have a right to be secure on our farms and to be free from Monsanto’s GMO trespass. If we become contaminated by Monsanto, not only is the value of our organic seed crop extinguished but we could also be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement because their contamination results in our ‘possession’ of their GMO technology. We have farmers who have stopped growing organic corn, organic canola and organic soybeans because they can’t risk being sued by Monsanto. It’s not fair and it’s not right. Family farmers need justice and we deserve the protection of the court.

The purpose of the lawsuit is not to seek monetary compensation. Instead, the farmers are preemptively suing Monsanto and seeking court protection from patent infringement lawsuits. Earlier in the legal process Monsanto was asked to provide a binding legal agreement not to sue. Monsanto refused this request, making it clear they do not want to give up their option to sue innocent family farmers.

It is a situation only a corrupt government could create.  It should surprise no one that president Obama, who is desperately pushing for Japan to join the TPP free trade agreement, is one of the leading proponents of Monsanto’s GE scheme.  In fact, a former Monsanto executive, Michael Taylor, serves in Obama’s administration

Taylor’s position, which is currently deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, includes ensuring that food labels contain clear and accurate information, overseeing strategy for food safety and planning new food safety legislation. He is the first individual to hold the position.

The problem for Japan – and the hypocrisy of the whole situation – is that provisions within the TPP eliminate labeling for GMO or place of origin for foodstuff, meaning that the consumer would have no way of knowing if the food was genetically engineered or even where it was grown.

In Japan, food may be labeled as containing GMO ingredients or as being GMO-free, but this would change if a key clause in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was to be implemented. According to the Sustainability Council of New Zealand, “the US has made clear that a priority for it in the proposed TPP is the abolition of laws requiring the labeling of GMO food” as well as the acceptance of the import of such products. This clause would apply to the Japanese market and Japanese consumers.

If this clause were to be agreed, Japanese consumers would be unwittingly exposed to any potential health hazards caused by ingestion of such food. Critics of the GMO business claim that many such health hazards exist, but that they have been swept under the rug by the companies involved.

Acceptance of this part of the TPP could also force Japanese farmers to accept the use of GMO crops, which might provide short-term profits. Though even this future profitability is subject to debate (a 2003 study showed that a Monsanto GMO cotton grown in India produced between five and seven times less net income than the indigenous variety according to an official governmental report), introduction of GMOs could bring about dramatic and drastic changes to Japan’s ecology – fragile at the best of times.

The TPP is about to change life in Japan.  As yet, we can not find a benefit for the Japanese people from belonging the US-dominated TPP, despite all of the assurances of the government and the Keidanren.  At best, the TPP will only serve to import the corruption of the US government into Japan.  Sadly, Japan already has enough problems with the corruption within its own government and doesn’t need this import.

  • http://seetell.jp/29110 TPPは日本を破壊する―パート2: 安倍首相の大きな嘘 | Seetell.jp

    [...] 日本、TPP、モンサント社、食品表示および特許権侵害訴訟 [...]

  • http://seetell.jp/29144 TPP後の遺伝子組み換え表示廃止と、モンサント | Seetell.jp

    [...] 基準を日本政府に対して実質上は無理強いすることになるだろう。TPPの官僚的な監視のもと、またモンサントやラベリングが利益を損なうと考える各企業による訴訟という脅威によって。 [...]

News Photo