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Bonfire of the vanities

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Vanity Fair, it must be admitted, is a strange publication. (And no, we're not talking about the Thackeray novel.) The cover typically features the glamorous of the moment, while the contents usually offer war reporting or other investigative exposés snuggled in between perfume and wristwatch ads. 

The May issue shows the magazine in fine form, with the words "Our Third Annual Green Issue" partially obscured by the ever-nubile body of Madonna. (And no, we're not talking about the mother of Jesus.) One of the "green" stories this time around is a shredfest of Monsanto.

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True, exposing Monsanto as a creepy agribusiness is not new; Michael Pollan was doing it back in 2001 with The Botany of Desire. What the Vanity Fair piece does is provide both a well-written summary and an update. The article abstract pretty much sums it up:

bq. Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics — ruthless legal battles against small farmers — is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

As we reported a year ago, Monsanto has been shifting its scare tactics from GMO seeds and chemical products to milk — specifically, milk from cows treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). All those milk cartons that proudly proclaim themselves hormone-free? Well, Monsanto isn't happy about such claims, and, as the Vanity Fair article reports, has tried to get the Federal Trade Commission "to force dairies to change their advertising." 

The company is currently working, one state at a time, to pass state laws prohibiting dairies from saying that their milk is free of Monsanto hormones.

Big Brother ain't just watching you; he's inside you.

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