Monday, March 08, 2004



We're all aware that the agrochemical industry is working not primarily for profit, but for the good of humanity, particularly in third-world countries, where for example they shipped all the remaining inventory of paraquat for sale cheap, back when it was outlawed in the first-world countries ("...workers were not wearing every piece of protective equipment required for mixing and loading of paraquat: 'a rubber apron, rubber gloves, a full face shield, rubber boot coverings, and a waterproof hat or helmet.'" [BurmaLibrary] Sounds safe enough. How's your salad?), where it was initially tried by the very first unknowing consumers (who's gonna tell us, the agrochem lobbyists?), until strange things began to happen of which little has been said (have you heard about them?) and then even more of the same thing happened to uneducated third world farmers, but that was even less newsworthy. Nothing like a big synthetic carpet to sweep things under, we're all part of a global agrochemical experiment anyway.

You gotta love their approach to problems. For a long time the agros were spraying crops with powerful herbicide to kill weeds, but the herbicide was so deadly (didn't seem to affect the taste of salad, though) that it also killed a lot of the produce. (Consumers just got allergies of unknown origin, inexplicable tumors, birth defects of uncertain etiology and other items on that very long list of diseases with no proven relation to agrochemicals).

So did they stop spraying and figure out cleaner, more organic approaches to the problem? No, time is money, no profit in that. They took an approach more in keeping with their attitude toward us consumers and our world: they altered the fabric of life. That way the changes would be cheap, permanent, ubiquitous and most importantly, patentable, i.e., profitable. What they have done is to GENETICALLY MODIFY your salad/grains/beans to make them resistant to the herbicide! So now they can spray that stuff till the cows don't come home and birds fall from the sky, but your food will still be standing! Isn't that delicious lettuce?

The reason I bring this tasteful subject up is that Japan is strongly opposed to importing any GM foods or seeds, whereas China, historically renowned for the welfare of its masses, is very interested. Not that anyone can now close Pandora's box, but things should get interesting over here. In the meantime, get that salad away from me, please; I'll grow my own.

No comments: