Friday, April 8, 2016

Do consumers have a 'right to know' about Intacta soybeans?

The title says it all: Sales Surge for Monsanto's Intacta Soybeans.

"Monsanto Co.’s new Intacta soybeans are not only killing bugs on Brazilian farms. They’re crushing demand for insecticides made by competitors DuPont Co. and FMC Corp......Soybean growers in northern Brazil who normally make six to 10 insecticide applications a season require only one or two sprays with Intacta crops.

I see two take aways from this, and I am not sure which one is bigger.

First, beyond AgWeb where's the press? If any other company had introduced a technology like this you would think the media would be all over it. The same people marching against Monsanto would be jumping for joy that a new green technology was putting the hurt on chemical companies.

The other story is that this is proof in point that biotechnology can reduce the use of toxic pesticides, hence its designation as a green technology (by me at least). So that means if the forced political speech laws of Vermont become law of the land, and they scare people away from GMO foods, or companies defensively substitute away, we're increasing our carbon footprint and supporting use of more toxic chemistries all in one fell swoop. I guess that's OK for some. (of course pesticide residues probably are not a big deal regardless but its the cost savings, reduced exposure, and reduced emissions on the farmscape that are impacted most).

Of course, given the scant media coverage, consumers won't know the difference. WOW so much for RIGHT TO KNOW as a justification for GMO labels.

See also: California Proposition 37: Capitalizing on Information Asymmetry and Government Regulation to Corner the Market on Sustainable Food

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