CAROLINA COSITORE: Where in the World is it (relatively) Safe to Eat?

It is disturbing what Monsanto, now Bayer, has been perpetrating on our
present and our future; not only regarding enormous damage to plant and
animal diversity and our planet’s climate, but also the appalling direct effects on our health; especially recognizable since the advent of Covid-19.

Globally, environmental and health organizations have long been lobbying,
protesting, and organizing to ban glyphosate, among other dangerous
chemicals. The danger made international headlines in 2015 when the
UN World Health Organization found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen for humans and animals. Monsanto then began the fight to overturn that decision and it became increasingly difficult to separate science from economic and political interests. Despite the corporate pr claims to the contrary, that the accusations of cancerous tumors as well as severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal have credence can be surmised by the huge court payouts demanded and made both before and since Bayer AG bought out Monsanto and the glyphosate headache for $63 billion in 2018 when the company ranked 199th on the 2018 Fortune 500 of the largest United States corporations by revenue.

Around 2017–2018 the possibilities for healthy eating, i.e., non-GMO/
glyphosate foods, certainly seemed to be looking up as concern about the
pesticides spread and more consumers were raising questions and more and more nations were responding by partially or completely taking steps to ban the cultivation of GMO crops. Nine countries (Algeria, Bhutan, Cuba,
Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Peru, Russia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe) had also
even banned the importing of any GMO crops.

Positive expectations increased both by the benchmark Bayer payout
in June 2020 of $8.8 to $9.6 billion for claims and, while no admission of
liability or wrongdoing was part of the deal hence Bayer could continue marketing Roundup without warning labels, there was a hopeful $1.25 billion cushion to establish an independent expert panel to resolve whether glyphosate causes cancer, and if so, what is the minimum danger exposure level.

So what happened? Is it now safe to eat everywhere or anywhere?
Not surprisingly, a company that makes money by dirtying our soil, water, plants, and animals, also plays dirty when it comes to advertising, pr and lobbying. A European Parliament report issued in January 2019 found that EU regulators based their decision to re-license glyphosate on an assessment that was plagiarized from a coalition of pesticide companies, including Monsanto. The scandal has caused a number of countries in the bloc to introduce individual legislation banning or restricting the use of the substance.

While the United States continues to allow GMO and pesticides in our food, glyphosate has been or will be banned in ten jurisdictions, including Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, and at least fifteen additional countries restrict its use. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer formally classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in July 2020.

Moreover, non-GMO crops have the potential to be extremely profitable for farmers and investors. As people grew more concerned about what was is in their food, the market for non-GMOs and sustainably raised food products continued to grow.

Unfortunately, a closer look greatly dims that perception. Not all countries claiming to ban GMO crops have a total ban on GMO cultivation. …

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