Ever wonder why the US is the leader in genetically modified foods?

If you've ever wondered why the United States leads the world in genetically modified (GM) crop acreage, the above lobbying statistics should give you your answer. Monsanto, the world leader in GM seeds, spends millions of dollars lobbying the U.S. government for favorable legislation that supports the spread of their toxic products.

In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government -- a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter. If we all had several million to drop solely on lobbying efforts, suffice to say the world would be a very different place.
Unfortunately, it's primarily multinational corporations like Monsanto that have this type of clout, and they use it to further their power, wealth and control not only in the United States but throughout the entire world.
And the lobbying is only the tip of the iceberg.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Trade Representative all have a special set of revolving doors leading straight to Monsanto, which has allowed this transnational giant to gain phenomenal authority and influence.

USDA Allows Monsanto to Police Itself

Up to 90 percent of several U.S.-grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed, and are being used in human and animal foods without any safety testing or labeling. This includes GM corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets, which have made their way into approximately 80 percent of current U.S. grocery store items.

Given that you have most certainly already been exposed to GM foods, and most likely a lot of them, you may be interested to know that the U.S. government has given a green light to virtually all of Monsanto's GM crops and related chemicals, despite minimal testing and widespread concern.
Most recently, the USDA approved planting of GM alfalfa, the fourth-largest crop in the United States, without restriction, despite massive opposition and serious concerns that its potential to cross-pollinate and transfer genetic material is very high, if not guaranteed. 

Because it's a natural forage for pastured (organically-raised grass-fed) animals, contamination would be disastrous for organic dairy- and cattle farmers as federal organic standards forbid them from using GM crops (not to mention Monsanto's history of suing both conventional and organic farmers for patent infringement should their crops be cross-contaminated).

Adding insult to injury, the USDA is the agency responsible for assessing the environmental impacts of GM crops, but they've not been very efficient in this regard. So, in an "effort" to make the environmental reporting process "more timely, efficient, and cost-effective," they've decided to create a two-year long pilot program that allows biotech companies like Monsanto to conduct their own environmental assessments.
That's right … Monsanto will be allowed to police itself and will therefore have to answer to no one.
The USDA will get "the final say." But honestly, how likely is the USDA to decline approval once an environmental assessment claims the crop poses no threat to the environment? If they can't find the time to do the original assessment, they surely will not find the time to double-check the assessments handed in by Monsanto and other biotech companies.

Monsanto has Many Friends in High Places

Further sweetening Monsanto's hand, Tom Vilsack -- a major supporter of Monsanto and a strong believer in GM pharmaceutical crops, especially pharmaceutical corn -- is the Secretary of the USDA. Vilsack is widely regarded as a shill for biotech giants like Monsanto (he even reportedly often travels in Monsanto's jet).
Then there's Michael Taylor, a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company, who is now the deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA. 

In case you're not familiar with him, Taylor is the person who "oversaw the creation of GMO policy," according to Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization whose goal is to end the genetic engineering of our food supply and the outdoor release of GM crops. Smith continued:
"If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist."

The FDA policy being referred to is the 1992 GMO policy, which stated:
"The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods [genetic engineering] differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."
In reality, there was major concern among FDA scientists that GM foods were in fact different than natural foods, and that their creation could prompt unknown and unpredictable health problems such as allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. The agency ignored the warnings and allowed GM foods onto the market without any required studies.