Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Earth The Almighty Buck Science

Monsanto Executive Wins World Food Prize 271

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-brand dept.
sfcrazy writes "A top Monsanto executive has won the prestigious World Food Prize. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the award where Robert T. Fraley, the executive vice president and CTO of Monsanto, won the prize along with two other scientists from Belgium and the US. The award was given for devising a method to insert genes from another organism into plant cells, which could produce new genetic lines with highly favorable traits."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Monsanto Executive Wins World Food Prize

Comments Filter:
  • Mmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:04PM (#44055793) Homepage Journal
    Would you like a tasty serving of irony with your patented GM beans?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:06PM (#44055809)

    Last week, Monsanto's leak of genetically modified wheat polluted countless acres of US wheat leading to countries around the world banning the import of all US wheat. Today, Monsanto wins the World Food Prize!

    Good job Monsanto. Thank goodness no media outlets carried that story. Oh. Except Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/us-wheat-korea-idUSBRE94U0KW20130531

    • Countless acres: One site in Oregon
      Around the world: 2 countries in Asia

      What is it about GMO that drives people to this sort of hysteria?

      • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:24PM (#44056375) Homepage Journal

        What is it about GMO that drives people to this sort of hysteria?

        That the consequences are irreversible. You can't put the genie back in the bottle again.

        It also ups the ante in the arms race of evolution, which isn't universally seen as a good thing.

        Calling objection "hysteria" doesn't make it so. Some protesters are quite enlightened and think long term.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You can't put the *gene* back in the bottle again.

        • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @10:43PM (#44056885)

          It also ups the ante in the arms race of evolution, which isn't universally seen as a good thing.

          It certainty is a bad thing, which is why millions of people protested conventional breeding when late blight overcame the conventionally bred resistances in tomato and when hessian flies overcame conventionally bred resistance in wheat. Oh wait, that never happened because it would be absolutely idiotic, yet somehow, when genetic engineering is involved, the same basic facts of population genetics are suddenly terrible and proof that the technique itself is bad. Perhaps it is because the vast vast majority of the opposition to genetic engineering is coming from those with no background in agricultural or plant science and thus due to their complete lack of context it seems reasonable to them.

          Calling objection "hysteria" doesn't make it so. Some protesters are quite enlightened and think long term.

          And most of the protesters are the agricultural equivalents to the anti-vaccine movement. And when you are doing little in the way of scientifically justifying your concerns, instead preferring to use bunk science [wikipedia.org], fearmongering [organicconsumers.org], and outright vandalism [biofortified.org] on non-corporate [redgreenandblue.org] projects [freshplaza.com] and farmer's fields [staradvertiser.com], you shouldn't be surprised when you get characterized poorly. Hell, there is no small opposition to even things like Golden Rice (biofortified with -carotene) and the Arctic apple (which does not oxidize when cut). I'm sure there is a perfectly good reason as to why that is, if not unscientific hysteria, because this stuff [facebook.com] isn't looking good.

          Just about everything carries risk (again for context, even conventional breeding conventional breeding [nap.edu] carries risk), just about everything has some negatives that come with the positives, there are actual issues, and not every genetically engineered organisms will necessarily turn out to be a good thing. But to paint the anti-GMO movement as a whole as anything even remotely reasonable would be like saying young earth creationists simply have a dispute with the minor details of a few phylogenies.

          • by six025 (714064) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @12:14AM (#44057443)

            Perhaps it is because the vast vast majority of the opposition to genetic engineering is coming from those with no background in agricultural or plant science and thus due to their complete lack of context it seems reasonable to them.

            The real problem is "close source food chain" vs. "open source food chain". That is why GM food - Monsanto style - is bad. Really bad. Unfortunately the anti-GM movement has taken a different path of protesting against the science, rather than this very basic fact.

            A closed source food chain is a major problem for everyone, except those who hold the patents.

            Peace,
            Andy.

            • A closed source food chain is a major problem for everyone, except those who hold the patents.

              Opposition to the patent aspect is certainty a lot more reasonable than trying to dismiss science, but it isn't such a simple issue when you consider the benefits to other groups, like farmers and consumers, from the creation of new varieties that are funded by patent royalties. Take the Honeycrisp apple for example. Do you like it? Most people do. It was, until the recent expiration, a patented variety (it is not GMO by the way; non-GE plants can also be patented). Despite this, growers liked it becau

            • by stenvar (2789879)

              The real problem is "close source food chain" vs. "open source food chain". That is why GM food - Monsanto style - is bad. Really bad. Unfortunately the anti-GM movement has taken a different path of protesting against the science, rather than this very basic fact.

              Patents last about 20 years. Monsanto's patents on the first generation of GM food are expiring next year. That means that everybody will be able to use those seeds freely, and if they are any good, benefit from them (each farmer can decide that f

            • agreed; its not that I care so much about 'modifying' the genes and creating frankenfood (lol); but that its closed and locked-out and THAT is what is harmful.

              lawsuits, stopping farmers from having a choice, forcing their hands to keep re-buying seeds from monsanto (or get sued) - THAT is the evil that most of us really care about.

              you can be a profiteering bastard all you want but NOT when it comes to food and basic sustenance for the world. at some point, greed and unbound capitalism MUST be limited!

          • ... yet somehow, when genetic engineering is involved, the same basic facts of population genetics are suddenly terrible and proof that the technique itself is bad

            A noticeable difference is that by cross-breeding the changes are slow (minor per generation), whereas by GM they can be huge (glowing mice). When some scientist has a bad morning, and releases his latest frankenstein into the wild, we could be majorly **-ed. So natural selection acts as a fail-safe against one mistake.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          That the consequences are irreversible. You can't put the genie back in the bottle again.

          You know people said the same thing about Norman Borlaug [wikipedia.org] when he started messing with double rotations, plant genetics, and started the green revolution. Go back and read the magazine articles, news paper stories and watch the TV spots on it. And note how well that worked out, anyone else want to disagree he's one of the greatest humans of the 20th century? Didn't think so.

        • by Cyberax (705495)
          So STOP EATING YOUR CORN AND BREAD NOWWWWW!!!!

          Seriously, wheat and corn are so genetically fucked up by humans that you should stop eating them if you are afraid of a couple of new genes in GM products. And these genetic changes are not harmless. For example, wheat lost a lot of its protein content and fat compared to the wild precursor. It also gained a couple of allergens (probably from cross-pollination by another close species).
        • by TWiTfan (2887093)

          It also ups the ante in the arms race of evolution, which isn't universally seen as a good thing.

          Newsflash: Farmers and breeders have been "upping the ante of evolution" for thousands of years. Human interference in evolution has given us a LOT of beneficial improvements to plants and animals alike over the centuries (not to mention making my cute poodle possible).

        • by chrish (4714)

          I'm more concerned about companies ending up with monopolies on the world's wheat/corn/etc. supplies. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is set in a near-future world where "competition" between companies like Monsanto (in the form of genetically engineered diseases targeting your competitor's crops) has completely pooched the environment.

      • Countless acres: One site in Oregon

        Out of the 200 million acres of wheat planted in North America, it was so conveniently only found exactly where the anti-GMO activists looked for it, but subsequently no where else. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say that the anti-GMO activists found it so easily, because they planted it.

      • by johanw (1001493)
        Maybe 2 extra countries in Asia didn't want any US corn anymore, but a lot of countries, like the whole EU, already didn't want it even before this.
  • Who woulda thunk? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macbeth66 (204889) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:15PM (#44055869)

    Winning an award for poisoning people and contaminating innocent neighbor farmers' fields.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:22PM (#44055923) Homepage

    Hey, if Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize for expanding our wars and the war powers assumed by his office, why shouldn't a company that that profiteers on regulatory agriculture monopolies get the World Food Prize? I understand The Pope is being considered for an equally prestigious anthropology prize.

    • Just like the Nobel (Score:5, Informative)

      by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:42PM (#44056045)

      There appears coincidentally to be a connection between the Nobel and this so-called World Food Prize. The Nobel awards were started by the man who invented dynamite. The Food Prize, according to the NY Times, "was started in 1987 by Norman E. Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for bringing about the Green Revolution, which vastly increased grain output, and who thought there should be a Nobel Prize for agriculture". One may well argue that dynamite contributed to world peace in the same way the Green Revolution, with its focus on massive crop monocultures, contributed to global food production.

      A Monsanto executive winning this award shouldn't be surprising, even without the allegations of financial "compensation". The Green Revolution was all about increasing the supply of food, never mind the quality, or the ecological or social side effects. At who knows what cost, there's no question Monsanto technology helps increase food output.

      • There appears coincidentally to be a connection between the Nobel and this so-called World Food Prize. The Nobel awards were started by the man who invented dynamite. The Food Prize, according to the NY Times, "was started in 1987 by Norman E. Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for bringing about the Green Revolution, which vastly increased grain output, and who thought there should be a Nobel Prize for agriculture". One may well argue that dynamite contributed to world peace in the same way the Green Revolution, with its focus on massive crop monocultures, contributed to global food production.

        A Monsanto executive winning this award shouldn't be surprising, even without the allegations of financial "compensation". The Green Revolution was all about increasing the supply of food, never mind the quality, or the ecological or social side effects. At who knows what cost, there's no question Monsanto technology helps increase food output.

        Did you save more than a billion people from starvation? Did you prevent untold suffering and and social problems by ensuring sufficient food for a growing population? No. No you didn't. You know who did? Norman Borlaug.

      • > One may well argue that dynamite contributed to world peace in the same way the Green Revolution, with its focus on massive crop monocultures, contributed to global food production.

        You can argue that if you want. But then you have to explain away the fact that Borlaug saved more lives (now estimated in the billions) than any man to walk the earth.

        Good luck with that.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:06PM (#44056255) Homepage Journal

          http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2010/06/green-revolutions-dark-side-effect-disease/ [colorado.edu]
          http://newsdesk.org/2008/08/dark_side_of_th/ [newsdesk.org]
          http://www.hrw.org/news/2005/09/04/dark-side-ethiopia-s-green-revolution [hrw.org]

          etc etc

          At "best" the "Green Revolution" postponed the inevitable and meanwhile increased the number of people who would eventually inevitably die from starvation as the land becomes unable to support farming due to depletion and destruction of soil diversity inherent to these methods.

          HTH, HAND

          • by yndrd1984 (730475) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:30PM (#44056409)
            Just because something is predicted by repeatedly-incorrect Malthusian doomsday scaremongers doesn't mean it's inevitable.
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Just because something is predicted by repeatedly-incorrect Malthusian doomsday scaremongers doesn't mean it's inevitable.

              Ask the Indian farmers killing themselves because their land will no longer produce crops due to so-called "green revolution" farming practices what "inevitable" means.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            The Green Revolution saved billions from famine and disease. As scientific understanding of the process and technology improve leading to improved sustainability. Current systems are very wasteful; some 30-40% of all food ends up not being consumed. RIGHT NOW we produce enough for estimated stable long term population levels of the planet.

            http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/dsd_sd21st/21_pdf/agriculture_and_food_the_future_of_sustainability_web.pdf [un.org]

            In the meantime birth rates in human populations are declining due to

    • I hear he's up for the 1st annual arming rebels for peace (ARFP) prize too, lol.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:42PM (#44056489)

      Hey, if Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize for expanding our wars and the war powers assumed by his office, why shouldn't a company that that profiteers on regulatory agriculture monopolies get the World Food Prize?

      To be fair, Obama didn't win the Nobel prize for ending wars. He won the prize for not being Bush.

      • by jsepeta (412566)

        And yet, Obama has proven himself to be the Über Büsh.

      • by Myopic (18616) *

        Seriously, after those disastrous eight years, all Obama had to do was say the word "peace" in a couple speeches. That's a damn low standard for the Peace Prize. In my opinion it is an embarrassment to the Nobel Committee for picking such a bad nominee, and I think Obama should have refused it. He could have given a speech listing a bunch of deserving candidates, pointed out that Presidents wage wars and cause death (which he did in fact point out in his Prize acceptance speech), and in the end he would hav

      • To be fair, Obama didn't win the Nobel prize for ending wars. He won the prize for not being Bush.

        To be fair, the genetic engineering techniques pioneered by Monsanto have enabled us to correct that. [blogspot.com]

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      "...expanding our wars and the war powers assumed by his office..."

      Now that's not exactly fair; Obama won his Nobel actually for doing nothing.

      In fact, given the schedule of the deliberations, it was decided before he was even formally president (Jan 21).

    • expanding the wars? Are you retarded? He closed one out and has the other closing out., I Dont like the guy or his politics but at least be truthful
      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        expanding the wars? Are you retarded? He closed one out and has the other closing out., I Dont like the guy or his politics but at least be truthful

        Then you shuld be truthful as well. Obama didn't close out the war in Iraq. He followed the agreed upon withdrawal timetable already set in place by Bush and the Iraqi government.

    • by Myopic (18616) *

      Better joke: The Pope is being considered for a prize for protecting children from sexual predators.

      Ah, ha ha, it's so funny how the Catholic Church is directly responsible for the rapes of untold and countless children for over a thousand years! Ha, ha, ha, oh me oh my those wacky Catholics!

  • Monsanto won what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's like saying Hitler won the fucking nobel peace prize.

    The biggest danger to the human race right now is not terrorists or asteroids. It's Monsanto. These money hungry whores are destroying our food resources and replacing them with engineered replacements without realizing the full long-term impacts on both our health and the planet's.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:56PM (#44056161)
    They're just as "too big to fail" as the big investment companies except unlike last time, you can't eat money. That deserves a prize? They deserve to be split up, have all their lawyers disbarred forever, and all their ridiculous "patents" invalidated. THAT would be a benefit to global food.
  • Let's give an award to an employee of a company that's basically polluting the agricultural gene pool! Boo on Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, and their ilk!
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:11PM (#44056297)
    Giving a Monsanto exec a food award is like giving a freedom award to an NSA employee.
    • by prefec2 (875483)

      Its like giving Obama the Peace-Prize. Oh wait... They did. Never mind. The also awarded the EU with that prize and as a citizen of the EU I am still waiting for my share of the prize money or the equivalent of two high quality jelly babies/gummy bears.

  • They told me if I voted for Romney, we'd see a regime increasingly in bed with multi-national companies unethically exploiting the world's food supply... and they were right!

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      Romney would have done exactly the same. However, he would act faster, as he has less a conscience mocking him. So the difference is more in the time when you get there and not in where you go. I am looking forward to the EU-US trade union, so I can see how European food standards, established over decades, will be obliterated by that treaty in minutes.

      BTW: That would not have happened with Romney, as he might not have found the EU on the map. (Just kidding of course).

  • by Camael (1048726) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:08PM (#44057013)

    If you look at the website [worldfoodprize.org] of the World Food Prize org, you will find :-

    The World Food Prize sincerely thanks the following sponsors for supporting its annual programs: ...
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation DuPont Pioneer John Deere Foundation
    The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition Monsanto DuPont Pioneer
    Ruan Transportation Management Systems Claudia and Paul Schickler....

    So, Monsanto is one of the sponsors of WFP. A pretty important one too, as shown by this link which used to exist on the Monsanto website [googleusercontent.com].

    The World Food Prize Foundation on Friday accepted a $5 million contribution from Monsanto Company to ensure the continuation of the annual World Food Prize International Symposium -- now known as the "Borlaug Dialogue." The funds support a renewed fundraising campaign to transform the historic Des Moines Public Library building into a public museum to honor Dr. Norman Borlaug and the work of the World Food Prize Laureates.

    When you look up the WFP website [worldfoodprize.org] , you will find that "The World Food Prize is sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan and is located in Des Moines, Iowa."

    Not in itself damning, until you realise that :-

    Monsanto has more facilities in Iowa than in any other state in the country [monsanto.com]

    Monsanto has made substantial investments in Iowa [wqad.com]

    Monsanto actively lobbies to change laws in Iowa [grist.org]

    I think its fair to say that Monsanto has a lot of influence in Iowa.

    I question the integrity of this "prize".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Surprise! Monsanto has been paying the WFP

      It's no surprise at all, because it's been revealed that Monsanto has been using this same tactic for years to corrupt academic journals to ensure that no contrary research gets published.

      Take a look at The Goodman Affair: Monsanto Targets the Heart of Science [independen...cenews.org]. It's enough to make you weep for the biomedical and horticultural sciences.

      This is very likely to be why Monsanto shills so often dismiss contrary research with "It's not published in a top peer-reviewed jou

  • by taj (32429) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @12:14AM (#44057445) Homepage

    The technology is great stuff. The real valid reason Europe and others complain goes back to the laws around these innovations - it really is innovation not round corners on a dumbed down interface.

    Lets say the innovation results in a 20% increase in production. A farmer producing crops by traditional technology becomes a cash loss as prices decline. A farmer producing with the new technology does not own the seed and perhaps the product as they sign contracts to work for monsanto. The IP owner dictates what the cash crop worker does, how much they are paid and if they get to be viable next year.

    That's markets, right? more efficient things come and less efficient things go. The measure of success of the market is the price we pay for food.

    So we move to a contract mentality and family farms go away. You get short term goals with no concern about the productivity of the land from one generation to the next. Land does not work that way. You can do a decades worth of damage very quickly.

    But what stake does Monsanto have in this game? So total productivity drops 30% due to short term corporate farming practices. It applies to farms moving back to traditional technology as well and Monsanto has a 20% advantage. Small farmers go away. Monsanto wins. We lose.

    I have no fear of eating GMO agricultural products other than the damage it does to our future.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

Working...