Monsanto is a diverse company, but has gained notoriety recently due to their strict regulation of their genetically modified seeds. An in-depth feature from Wired reveals that the food-giant may be “moving away” from genetically modified vegetables due to public reticence for purchasing genetically modified food and the latest version of the Farm Bill which would require such products be labeled.
It’s not that genetically modified organisms are harmful for human consumption. In fact, the research seems to indicate otherwise. According to the Wired article, Monsanto’s new superveggies “may be born in a lab, but technically they are every bit as natural as what you’d get at a farmers’ market.” In fact, if they are kept “away from pesticides” and transported “less than 100 miles,” they are considered organic and “locavore.”
Although, GMOs find their way into almost every American’s diet. According to Mother Jones, “Nearly all GMOs currently on the market are big commodity crops like corn and soy, which, besides being used as livestock feed, are regularly used as ingredients in processed food.”
Yet, the problem is that the GMO vegetables aren’t very good at creating vegetables that taste good or are more nutritious than their naturally-occurring cousins. For Monsanto, the genetic modification process has been “inefficient and expensive.” Coupled with their own troubled public persona and the public’s aversion to genetically modified food, the company may need a new strategy.
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However, genetically modified food is humanity’s best hope to combat global hunger and rising populations. As the technology advances, crops could be engineered to grow in harsh climates providing a kind of agricultural freedom for peoples who traditionally struggle for their next meals. Yet, perhaps Monsanto—the company that was responsible for environmental contaminant PCB and Agent Orange—is not the best corporate face to lead the genetically modified food movement.