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Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

1995. 7 In 1996, the

1995. 7 In 1996, the Monsanto Company introduced Roundup Ready soybeans, seeds with Rutgers Model United Nations 3 early from the vines. This harvesting flaw was Calgene’s major selling point, as seen with the clever name developed for the new tomatoes. The tomatoes had no special labels, however, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed it unnecessary since the Flavr Savr tomatoes retained all normal characteristics of a conventionally harvested tomato. 5 Due to production problems and the development of conventionally harvested tomatoes with longer shelf lives, the Flavr Savr proved unprofitable to the Calgene Corporation. The Zeneca Corporation, another food company dabbling in genetically modified tomatoes, came out with a tomato paste for sale in the United Kingdom in 1995. 6 The product was labeled as “GE” tomato paste, with the “GE” standing for genetically engineered. The Zeneca tomato paste was considerably cheaper than conventional tomato paste, as vine ripening lowered processing costs. By 1999, the product accounted for 60 per cent of the canned tomato market in the United Kingdom. Despite its lower price than normal tomato paste, the company eventually pulled the product from shelves due to increasing concern within the United Kingdom over GM foods. Two other companies attempted to enter the genetically modified tomato market, and in 1995, DNA Plant Technologies and Monsanto both gained U.S. FDA approval for their own genetically modified tomatoes. These two companies soon sued each other over patent infringements, and neither company has marketed a genetically modified tomato since built-in herbicide tolerance. 8 Scientists genetically engineered these soybeans to resist 5 “First Biotech Tomato Marketed”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/biotech.html, accessed 4 April 2007 6 “Am I Eating GE Tomatoes?”, Genetically Engineered Organisms – Public Issues Education Project, http://www.geo-pie.cornell.edu/crops/tomato.html, accessed 4 April 2007 7 Ibid. 8 “Company History”, Monsanto, http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/layout/about_us/timeline/default.asp, accessed 4 April 2007

Rutgers Model United Nations 4 the damaging effects of glyphosate-based herbicides. 9 Monsanto introduced this product as an alternative to conventional soybeans that cannot be subjected to herbicide without risking damage. With the new soybeans, farmers could use glyphosate-based herbicides to destroy weeds growing around the crops without damaging the crops themselves. Roundup Ready Soybeans worked by inhibiting an enzyme necessary to destroy the plant, thus preventing herbicides from killing the crops. 10 The soybeans have a bacterial version of the enzyme included in the seed, thus acting as a vaccine against the enzyme responsible for plant decay. Critics of the Roundup Ready Soybean noted that while cooked soybeans for human consumption appear digestible, the beef cattle fed on the same soybeans were not always fully cooked. This problem suggests that Monsanto has not provided adequate research to the effect of the enzyme in human digestion systems, leading to concern over the widespread use of the new soybeans. Monsanto stood by its product, maintaining it poses no threat to human consumers, and continues to develop and sell Roundup Ready products. In addition to soybeans, Monsanto also offers Roundup Ready corn, canola, and cotton. 11 In addition to its Roundup Ready line of seeds, Monsanto also developed insect resistant crops for sale. In 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the YieldGard Plus corn seed, the first genetically engineered corn seed protected against rootworms and borers. 12 The seeds are genetically protected against pests, eliminating the need for insecticides. The corn crop savings estimated by growers was USD $1 billion annually. The FDA required farmers to provide refuges for the pests; a part of their fields specifically intended to feed the pests, in order to prevent widespread harm to the ecosystem. The farmers using the genetically modified corn seeds were required to have a refuge equal to at least 20 per cent of their YieldGard Plus acreage in most corn 9 ‘Roundup Ready Soybeans”, Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/genetic_engineering/roundup-ready-soybeans.html, accessed 4 April 2007 10 Judy Carman PHD, “The Problem with the Safety of Roundup Ready Soybeans”, http://www.psrast.org/subeqau.htm, accessed 4 April 2007 11 “Company History” 12 “EPA Approves YieldGard Plus corn”, Delta Farm Press, 26 December 2003, http://deltafarmpress.com/mag/farming_epa_approves_yieldgard_2/

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