HIGHTOWER: Rejecting Monsanto's Frankenspud

I've got a potato story for you, and it doesn't involve Dan Quayle. It involves something even goofier than Danbo: Monsanto corporation's FrankenSpud.

Monsanto, now owned by the drug giant, Pharmacia, has long conspired with politicians to doctor the very DNA of our dinner in ways that have not been tested for longterm health and environmental consequences. It then sells these Frankenfoods to us without labeling them, meaning we can't decide for ourselves whether we want our families to be their guinea pigs.

Thousands of food products secretly contain these GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- including the humble potato used by many fast-food and snack-food companies. Monsanto took a gene from a micro-organism and put it in the spud, causing it to produce a toxin. Trust us, they say, the genetic tampering and the toxin are safe -- though they're not so sure of it that they're willing to label their FrankenSpud.

But consumers are finding out about Monsanto's genetic games anyway, thanks to a grassroots network of watchdogs, and they are in rebellion. The Wall Street Journal reports that the outcry has been loud enough that it has reached the ears of executives at McDonald's, who have quietly told their french-fry suppliers to stop using Monsanto's altered potatoes. Likewise, J.R. Simplot Company, the largest processor of french fries in our country, has told its growers to stop producing the FrankenSpud. A company official says, "Virtually all the fast food chains have told us they prefer to take non-genetically modified potatoes." Also, the makers of "Pringles" chips and of "Lay's" and "Ruffles" chips are rejecting modified potatoes.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... These food giants are learning that it's not nice to mess with Mother Nature ... or with consumers. In supermarkets, restaurants,or wherever you buy food, ask if they're selling nature's own -- or a Monsanto lab experiment. Remember, you're in charge!

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