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Did Monsanto Just Ruin the Economy?

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They said it couldn't happen. It was all supposed to be locked up tight and under control. Yet, despite all the assurances to the contrary, unapproved genetically modified wheat has been found in an Oregon wheat field, and the implications of its discovery are far-reaching and potentially devastating. Monsanto (NYSE: MON  ) may have just single-handedly wrecked the wheat industry and the economy.

Corn, soy beans, alfalfa, sugar beets. All these crops have been genetically modified by Monsanto and its GM brethren to the point where there are virtually no alternatives for farmers. GM corn accounts for 86% of the country's supply. More than 90% of the soy beans have been altered. Sugar beets are half the country's sugar supply, and 95% of those seeds are from Monsanto.

All told, Monsanto, DuPont  (NYSE: DD  ) , and Syngenta  (NYSE: SYT  ) control 53% of the world's seed production, yet their control of our food supply is almost all-encompassing, because they cross-license their technology between themselves and with other companies.

Monsanto recently agreed to share its technology with Dow Chemical  (NYSE: DOW  )  and Bayer (and vice versa), while DuPont and Bayer similarly expanded their collaboration. Syngenta is cross-pollinating Dow's AgroSciences division with its GM technology.

Yet, the one crop that has been saved from being altered up until now has been wheat. Not that Monsanto hasn't tried, as it experimented with modifying its DNA to make it resistant to its Roundup herbicide. Fields in 16 states including Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, and Oregon were used to test Roundup Ready wheat seed. But because the rest of the world has banned GM wheat from their bread boxes, Monsanto backed off, and suspended the program in 2005.

The wheat strain discovered last month was in a field that was supposed to remain fallow. Instead, it sprouted, and was found to contain the Roundup Ready gene, even though the Agriculture Dept. supposedly destroyed all the seed that was tested except for a small amount it kept to run additional tests. Now we learn that some managed to escape.

The U.S. is, by far, the world's largest exporter of wheat, shipping almost 28 million metric tons around the world, or about half of all the wheat this country produces each year. That's just as much as all of Europe and Canada combined! Countries like Japan and South Korea are huge importers of U.S. wheat, but it's done on one condition: the wheat can't be genetically modified.

In the wake of the discovery of this supposed rogue GMO strain, Japan began canceling wheat imports, and so did South Korea. Both Taiwan and Europe are stepping up their monitoring of imports with an eye toward suspending them if genetically modified wheat is found. With 90% of the wheat from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho earmarked for export, the emergence of a GMO strain could cripple the market for it and, thus, the economy.

While officials immediately proclaimed it an isolated incident, how do they know that? They can't even say how it got into the field in the first place, but we're supposed to believe it's not widespread. 

While Monsanto speculates it could be "sabotage," with the toothpaste out of the tube, it's easy to devise an equally sinister explanation, one that actually benefits Monsanto. Sure, foreign countries would initially reject U.S. exports of GM wheat; but where would they turn to make up half of the world's supply? And when it becomes a choice of feeding their people or starvation, it may ultimately lead to acceptance of genetically modified wheat. And once that happens, Monsanto controls the world's wheat supply. Tinfoil hat brigade stuff to be sure, but no more outlandish than Monsanto's supposition.

Despite assurances that GM foods are safe to eat, this latest incident underscores why it's so important that such foods are labeled that they've been altered at the molecular level. Individuals should have a choice as to whether they ingest GM foods or not, but Congress has seen fit to protect Monsanto at every turn by keeping consumers in the dark.

When it comes to the nation's bread basket, this country's wheat supply and its economy need to be saved from Monsanto.

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Read/Post Comments (35) | Recommend This Article (42)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 9:05 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:


    This is not at all far-fetched speculation, given the ferocity of Monsanto's enemies, from organic advocates to corporate competitors dictated by ENRON ETHICS!


  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 9:33 PM, jaguarsky wrote:

    It has gotten to the point that none of this makes any difference. Sadly I think the author's conjecture about Monsanto deliberately contaminating the nation's wheat yield in order to "take over the world" could be very close to the truth.

    I actually find the title of the story rather humorous. So what if they ruined the economy? As I recall there were some banks that ruined the world economy and they got bailed out and the human criminals at the helm all got sweet bonuses.....OH, wait a minute.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 9:53 PM, placy wrote:

    Please write/email Mossad to stop Monsanto:

    (mossad dot gov dot iL)

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:01 PM, Weitzhuis wrote:

    Huh, you do realize that everytime a hybrid is made, or a random mutation occurs, it is different at the molecular level.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:05 PM, Weitzhuis wrote:

    Greenpeace already conducts and condones vandalism against GMO's so, i, too, don't find Monsanto's supposition all that outlandish. Especially considering that if the seeds were leftovers from the trials but missed during cleanup, they would have had to survive 8 years in the wild before germinating. From what i've read, that would be some kind of world record for wheat.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:13 PM, toconnor7 wrote:

    I'd like to thank big corporations for feeding the most people the cheapest. I'd also like to thank the guy who cross-bred wheat and has been credited with saving over 1 billion lives from starvation with GM Wheat. I would also like to thank God for using the above mentioned for his means. The future shouldn't or couldn't involve growing food for a 100 billion people with shriveled under-producing insect infested crops. There is neither the time, space, or ability to accomplish global feeding without the work these companies do.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:36 PM, nomofunfun wrote:

    Dr. Fun,

    You did sooooooo well staying off the airwaves for some 7 days.

    But now, supporting Monsanto when the evidence makes them more guilty than O. J. Simpson?

    Please return to Yahoo and address our concerns about this serious issue.

    Sabotage? You should know better!

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:37 PM, Rsmags wrote:

    GMOs have 80% plus market share in every crop they have been introduced in because they solve problems that could economically solved through conventional methods. Farmer's choose to grow GMOs because they are more profitable and require less crop protection inputs. Farmers have alternatives to grow non GMO varieties in all these crops, they don't because they aren't economic.

    Considering that the law suits over GMO sugar beets and alfalfa started in Oregon it would not be shocking this contamination came from somewhere other than monsanto's field trials 10 years ago.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:43 PM, getthetruth2 wrote:

    Another foolish blog instead of something we can depend on.

    The wheat crop has not been destroyed by 2 plants that haven't even been confirmed to be the Monsanto wheat trait. Since The Oregon researcher who did the tests is an activist there is a 50:50 chance its false and there is a 90% chance its a false positive because most academics can't do the test correctly. Also the wheat prices were higher after this so in fact wheat growers could have made more money. After another week or so the Japanese and Koreans etc will be comfortable with imports again. Thats the truth

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:43 PM, 18RC wrote:

    I hope the Monsanto sabateurs are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Just hope it was not an inside job (unhappy former Monsanto employee).

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 10:46 PM, rotorhead1871 wrote:

    time to destroy the GMO materials...

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 11:10 PM, vv234 wrote:

    If the rest of the world is against importing GMO wheat or any GMO products, does that ring alarm o those Monsanto supports/investors above?

    GM food may be the worst way to "support" the world population right now. In fact it could well be killing the (US mostly) population slowly over the time. Please educate yourselves, GM food supports, before it's too late. No, there is no real shortage of food, only the unfair/inefficient distribution of food or rather wealth. The greediness of Monsanto and the like and the corruption of USDA is simply unbelievable!

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 11:14 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    It would be great if all politicians would be required to display their science and math skills before an election. It might be also great that the bylines on news articles also display the skill set of the author. What would you do if you knew that your Politician and your News was created by 7th grade level science? IT IS!

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 11:43 PM, greenknight32 wrote:

    GMO crops were supposed to save farmers a ton of money, increase yields, etc. - studies of the actual results show the only benefit has been a slight improvement in the reliability of yields, decreasing the "cost of risk" to the farmer. The cost has been a huge upsurge in the use of Roundup (but Monsanto considers that a benefit, I'm sure!).

    What benefits there are have proved to be short-lived, as weeds and insects are quickly developing resistance to the controls that are genetically coded into these crops.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 12:14 AM, stevor86 wrote:

    If we didn't have a "president" who didn't just give lip service to how bad GMOs are ("people have a right to know what is in their food") then we might not be where we are now.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 12:49 AM, larryv01 wrote:

    Monsanto,GM, Dow, Syngenta, DuPont, and Bayer are the new "six sisters" who are now on their way to controlling the world's food supply, helped along by greedy and corrupt politicians in Washington who bow down to their contributions and big money donations! The original " seven sisters" were the seven oil companies who controlled the world's supply of oil with the help of politicians in Washington and throughout the world. The "Seven Sisters" contributed generously to the Republican Party and Presidential candidates and fundraisers and generously to individuals who would help them in their quest to control the world's supply of oil. They were able to conceal huge amounts of money through underground routes, using bribes and generous illegal contributions to anyone who would help them in their attempts to create and sustain their "world monopoly" on oil and the profits they made from their illegal activities. The same can be said of the new "six sisters" who are trying and in some cases, succeeding in their attempts to control the "world's supply of food". Through illegal contributions to politicians, political parties and individuals, they are using the same tactics used by the "seven sisters of oil" to control the world's supply of a vital commodity,. The "six sisters" are unaccountable to any body and are not only engaging in illegal contributions, and bribery, but also destroying the "natural order" of nature in modifying and changing the genetic structure of our food supply without any studies, short or long term, on the dangers of ingesting these artificial structures and dna into our bodies. What they are doing is not only illegal, but immoral, and we all need to contact our Congressman and politicians and demand that these six companies be made accountable and the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to step in, just like they did with the "seven sisters" of the oil companies and find out just how much and how deep this greed and corruption in the halls of Washington and World Goverments does it go. It's scary to think that six corporations will be able to control the world's supply of food, without any goverment rules, regulations or accountability!

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 2:11 AM, joekoool102 wrote:

    You don't mess with mother nature. no doubt this was gonna bite us in the @$$!! This GMO seeds have led to the decimation of bees. We need bees to pollinate crops etc. I should have a thousand in my yard, but I can count them on one hand. Maybe the apocalypse is at hand. Thanks Monsanto et all.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 4:58 AM, flibberdgibbet wrote:

    They didn't just start ruining the economy. They have been at it since the days of DDT. They have had farmers lose their farms for their crops cross pollinization with the farmers non GM crops, calling it thet of intellectual property. They will also be the downfall of civilization if things keepo going in this direction.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 7:42 AM, nomofunfun wrote:

    Don't fool yourself into thinking Monsanto is an equal partner in crime with Bayer, DuPont, or Dow. This problem is Monsanto's alone. Smart investors should be dumping Monsanto shares (if they were dumb enough to hold them) and buy DuPont, which will benefit HUGE from the fall-out. DuPont/Pioneer makes wholesome, frankenfoods-free seeds. That's where my money and ethics are at.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 7:44 AM, funfundvierzig wrote:

    When it comes to DuPont, why in the world would you trust the dishonest Management of the very conglomerate which secretly and callously contaminated the drinking water supplies for 100,000 unsuspecting women, men, and children in West Virginia and Ohio with DuPont's extraordinarily toxic, cancer-causing Teflon chemical C8 or PFOA? This illegal and grossly unethical misconduct earned DuPont the largest civil fine and penalty in the history of the U. S. EPA!

    Folks, I simply would not trust DuPont with anything on my plate or in my glass. Over the years, DuPont's superior-managed competitors, Syngenta, Monsanto, and BASF have operated to the standards of far higher principles.


  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 7:53 AM, funfundvierzig wrote:


    Keep in mind that unethical operatives, many of whom have openly disclosed, even bragged they are representatives of DuPont, paid by DuPont Management as DuPont employees and DuPont Managers, systematically smear and defame Monsanto at various internet forums. In addition to trashing Monsanto's business with outright falsehoods and defamation, these public relations operatives and avowed DuPont employees vindictively attack on a personal level MON shareholders and investors who dare to offer independent opinions on the quality and performance of DuPont leadership.

    Merely the perspective of one independently-speaking retail investor with long positions in SYT, DOW, MON, and long and short positions in DD. ...funfun..

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 8:02 AM, reginabee wrote:

    Monsanto has been unleashing bad ideas upon us for the past 100 years. This is not hybridization folks but a very extreme makeover for mother nature. One thing is for sure, monsanto has got to get out of our government, out of our crops and out of our environment.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 8:58 AM, imnoone8675309 wrote:

    Organic farming will not feed the nation let alone the world

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 9:24 AM, lallen8029 wrote:

    There are urban farmers who are getting 6000 lbs of food on a tenth of an acre. perpetuating the myth that organic farming can't feed the world is in Monsanto's interest, eh?

    And why should we be feeding the world anyway. Why aren't we helping the world to feed itself. If we feed the world then 10,000 years of skill and knowledge is lost and these countries are then dependent on...oh yeah, Monsanto, also in their best interests, right?

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 11:57 AM, eyeknonothing wrote:

    There seems to be some real fools making comments here! Monsanto etal does not want to feed the world. That's just the hype, I pity you if you believe that.

    I had about 800 shares of Vanguard CapOp. When I found out that Vanguard heavily invests in Monsatan (not a misspelling), I divested myself of it all. I'm not going to be part of their plan to control the world's food supply. Mr. Fun, I sincerely hope that you and all those other Biotech supporters lose your shirts.

    "Folks, I simply would not trust DuPont with anything on my plate or in my glass. Over the years, DuPont's superior-managed competitors, Syngenta, Monsanto, and BASF have operated to the standards of far higher principles."-You mean like poisoning Aniston, Mississippi? You mean like saying Agent Orange was safe? You mean like bribery? You mean like saying DDT was safe? You mean like saying Aspertame is safe? Biotech is using the same kind of "science" that the tobacco industry used and the PharMafia uses, which is manipulated results.

    There has been no long term testing of GMO's on the human population. Oh yes, Monsatan says there have been no ill effects from consuming these Frankenfoods, but how can one keep track without LABELS?

    Why do approximately 60 other countries have labels or outright bans on GM products and crops? Why would you want to eat something that grows in a toxic environment. These crops are sprayed with Round Up and live! All other plant life dies. Use some common sense please. Why would you want to eat something that produces its own insecticide? Bt Corn and Bt Cotton do just that.

    I participated in the March against Monsanto on May 25 and will be marching again in October. There is another march planned by Moms against Monsanto on July 4. Join us please.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 1:02 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:


    You repeat virtually verbatim some of the public relations talking points put forth repeatedly over the internet by avowed DuPont employees and DuPont Management shills!

    Foremost, in bringing up an herbicide deployed by the U. S. Army a half-century ago, you are ignoring the commercial reality, the blatant fact the Monsanto Company of 2013, a seed enterprise, has no connection with Agent Orange or Aspertame. Monsanto is the world's leader in genetic engineering of innovative seeds with a sideline of ag chemicals, primarily Roundup.

    If you want to talk about current environmental disasters, take a look at your DuPont Imprelis. DuPont "Chair" & CEO, Ellen Kullman and her inept and unethical TEAM have delivered the worst manmade environmental disaster and most costly new product failure in 21st century corporate America. Several $billion of dead and dying mature trees across the country stand testimony to this toxic scandal caused by a falsely, if not fraudulently marketed "eco-SAFE" DuPont dandelion herbicide for the yard. The year is 2013.


  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 1:08 PM, Rat11 wrote:

    Another misleading release from MF about Monsanto. The author ends with a plea for labeling, but look what happened in the past few days regarding Kraft Mac and Cheese. The label discovered in the UK falsely states that the product is "made from GM wheat" even though there has never been any GM wheat commercially produced anywhere!! Kraft vehemently denied the label was theirs and said they don't even sell the product in the UK but the damage had been done and a wildfire ensued on the web. The NYT investigated and charitably concluded that the label was "ambiguous". We don't need a labeling scheme which is ambiguous. This would lead to chaos in the food chain and needless panic. Our regulatory agencies have told us for 20 years now that GM crops are equivalent to conventional ones. Do you really think if there were real problems out there they wouldn't have been discovered by now and the FDA would have shut this down years ago?

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 1:24 PM, Panther007 wrote:

    I dumped my Monsanto shares at the end of December because it made me sick - literally the chemicals and crazy hybrid seeds make it near impossible for me to consume wheat. Is no one considering pancreatic cancer a possible side effect of putting poisons in our wheat seeds? There is no testing, we are all guinea pigs. And the person who was so excited about feeding starving people with all this extra yield? - that's Monsanto's playbook. The mad scientist ways of creating that food will most likely kill them just a bit later in life. So glad to hear everyone be so vocal about this food supply issue we have here. Why do the patent offices allow something to be patented that blows in the wind and seeds other plots down the road? What is up with that? Our patent office needs a demolition and rebuild strategy.

    I'm growing my summer vegetables with heirloom seeds. No frankenscience for me.

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 3:45 PM, dockofthebay wrote:

    I am surprised that there is so much surprise about the appearance of Monsanto GMO wheat in a fallow field. People have short memories. Read this:

  • Report this Comment On June 07, 2013, at 3:45 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:


    You sneer at Monsanto with the following personal complaint:

    "crazy hybrid seeds make it near impossible for me to consume wheat."

    We are not aware that Monsanto has any GM wheat seeds on the shelves for sale to farmers this year or last.

    A more detailed explanation of your severe health malady might be enlightening to readers here...funfun..

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:31 PM, eyeknonothing wrote:

    Funfun-Lol. You're a funny guy. I would say it's the other way around. Monsatan the CHEMICAL COMPANY developed genetic engineering to sell their CHEMICALS. The Monsatan company poisoned Anniston Mississippi for years with PCB's.

    I am no fan of Dow/Dupont/Syngenta etal (like in an indictment) and wish them all ruin as well as those with a financial stake in them.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 8:47 AM, tempchennai wrote:

    Of-course! Monsanto is the most evil company in the world. It has not only ruined the economy, But also the health of the people.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 8:50 AM, tempchennai wrote:

    Keep calm and occupy Monsanto!

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2013, at 2:02 PM, zizzer wrote:

    Yellow journalism never goes away because some people will believe anything. It's disappointing to find it on The Fool.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2016, at 11:01 PM, ArianSpirit wrote:

    There is one way to find out if Monsanto is hiding the truth about the dangers of GMO's, go to the Mans house and see what is in his pantry and refrigerator. I'd bet big bucks you might find a cow or two in his back yard and organic labels lining the pantry shelves. Monsanto's scientists all eat organic, cage free, grass-fed, free range and Gluten free; I speculate, to keep his health, he does too!

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