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Activists warn Monsanto poised to become Big Veggie

| | August 31, 2015
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Broccoli, the original superfood, is getting an upgrade.

On top of the Vitamin C and slew of other nutrients found in a typical stalk of broccoli, Monsanto says its Beneforté broccoli is bred to have higher levels of a nutrient that your body uses to fight cancer and cholesterol. As Monsanto’s website for the super-broccoli puts it, “Beneforté is even more of a good thing.”

Beneforté is on sale in the UK in 10 grocery chains, and though it’s not currently available in the U.S. because of a gap in supply, Monsanto expects it to be widely available in 2017.

Broccoli may seem out of step with Monsanto’s corn- and soy-heavy business, but it’s right in line with shifting consumer preferences for healthier, less processed foods. Since 2005, Monsanto has spent more than $2 billion acquiring two major vegetable and fruit seed companies.

Yet there is reason to worry if Monsanto moves into vegetables. By helping farmers multiply their yields of corn and soy — and restricting the kind of business they could do with its competitors — Monsanto turned itself into a grain superpower. Doing the same in vegetables could limit genetic diversity and global food security.

If Monsanto repeats the domination it has achieved in corn and soy with broccoli and other vegetables, restrictions on breeding and a loss of genetic diversity seem inevitable, even with Monsanto funding seed libraries and licensing its genetics. This might not sound like a major problem, but it could be one day.

Most consumers probably aren’t choosing their vegetables based on potential corporate monopolies or their impact on genetic diversity. They’re looking for something healthy, tasty and easy to cook.

Read full, original post: Monsanto’s super-broccoli shouldn’t scare you, but its plans for global vegetable domination might

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