by Trish Nelson on Mon 10 May 2010 05:00 AM CDT | Permanent Link | Cosmos
Iowa Investigates Monsanto
Food and Corporate Power
Multinational seed corporations are following a strategy to gain control over basic resources for food production. As recent research shows not only genetically engineered plants, but more and more the conventional breeding of plants gets into the focus of patent monopolies: International patent applications in this sector are skyrocking.... the multinationals expand their claims over the whole chain of food production from feed to animals and food products such as meat.
In a pending patent application from Monsanto even bacon and steaks are claimed.
[As previously mentioned on Blog for Iowa] The Justice Department is investigating whether Monsanto Co. violated antitrust rules in trying to expand its dominance of the market for genetically engineered crops. At issue is how the world's largest seed company sells and licenses its patented genes. Monsanto has licensing agreements with seed companies that let those companies insert Monsanto genes into about 96 percent of U.S. soybean crops and 80 percent of all corn crops.
Monsanto's rivals allege that the company uses the licensing agreements to squeeze competitors and control smaller seed companies — an allegation Monsanto denies. The inquiry into St. Louis-based Monsanto is part of a previously announced Justice Department investigation of consolidation in the seed industry.
At least two states, Iowa and Texas, are conducting their own antitrust investigations of Monsanto. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is investigating Monsanto's marketing practices, said Eric Tabor, Miller's chief of staff. (click here to read the entire article)
Here's more from GMWatch.eu:
There is a process going on, multinationals are trying to gain increasing control of the whole chain of food production. Consumers, farmers and food producers are all caught by the same trap. This has to be regarded as an immoral attempt to abuse patent law. The company is heading for maximising its profits by filing patents on food while at the same time one billion people is suffering from hunger," says Francois Meienberg from the Berne Declaration.
As experience from the US shows, patents on seeds and increasing market concentration are leading to drastic increase in seed prices, reduced choice in seeds and soaring dependencies for farmers. Meanwhile the Department of Justice and state attorneys general in several US states are investigating whether Monsanto Company has abused its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices in seeds.
The coalition of 'No Patents on Seeds' is warning that market concentration will even increase if the abuse of patent law is not stopped. The coalition is supported globally by more than 200 organisations. The organisations are demanding a clear change in policy and practise of patent offices. Governments are urged to to revise the patent laws in order to exclude patents on seeds, animals and parts thereof.