Organic Consumers Association

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Superweeds Go Mainstream

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

I don't expect that Monsanto takes much notice when articles about superweeds -- plants that have developed resistance to its flagship RoundUp herbicide and its active ingredient glyphosate -- appear in Grist, Scientific American, Mother Jones or even The New York Times. That's nothing but typical "fearmongering" from the "liberal media" and the biotech behemoth can laugh it off all the way to the bank.

But when the mainstream business press writes lead paragraphs like this:

 Justin Cariker grabs a 7-foot-tall Palmer pigweed at his farm, bending the wrist-thick stem to reveal how it has overwhelmed the cotton plant beneath it. This is no ordinary weed: Over time it has developed resistance to Monsanto's best-selling herbicide, Roundup. Hundreds of such "superweeds" are rising defiantly across this corner of the Mississippi Delta. "We're not winning the battle," Cariker, owner of Maud Farms in Dundee, Miss., says as he looks at weeds that tower over his infested cotton field like spindly green scarecrows. Bloomberg BusinessWeek did under the headline "Attack of the Superweeds," I have to believe that Monsanto's top brass starts to worry.

The language in the article is striking. Reporter Jack Kaskey tells how "unrelenting" use of glyphosate has led to an "invasion" of resistant weeds across the country. Of course, Monsanto has a plan -- and it involves engineering resistance to older (more dangerous pesticides) into its seeds.

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