Notes to Chapter One
ling genealogy. In examining the “naming story” of recombinant Bovine Growth
Hormone (also known as r- bgh), we see how agro- science naming practices often
render visible conflicting sets of agricultural agendas, values, and commitments.
Industry and government officials first named their product r- bgh to describe a ge-
netically engineered hormone injected into cows to increase milk production. Pro-
duced solely by Monsanto, r- bgh was called by its trade name, Posilac.
However, industry officials soon decided to change the name of the product
to recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (r- bst), exchanging the lesser- known term
somatotropin for the word hormone. Although the terms somatotropin and hormone
both refer to a particular growth hormone in cows, industry officials found that
the term hormone raised concerns among consumers and ecology groups. Vermont
dairy farmers and ecological activists rejected the term r- bst on the grounds that
it deflected attention from the fact that the product is indeed a patented growth
hormone (Tokar 1999), which, in addition to enhancing existing problems of over-
production, also causes a series of health problems for cows, leading to increased
reliance on antibiotics and so on.
3. Activists tend to describe a de facto no- labeling policy because, to this day, no juris-
diction has mandated the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United
States. There is still an ongoing controversy over voluntary labeling (companies
labeling their products “r- bgh- free” or “free of artificial hormones”). In 2008, sev-
eral states, prodded by Monsanto, tried to prohibit “negative labeling,” but were
defeated. To this day, Monsanto has several lawsuits filed against companies in the
United States that use labels that identify genetically modified milk, for instance, as
“artificial- hormone free.”
4. There are producer- led organizations in the United States and Canada that fight
against gmos. Yet these organizations have largely failed to capture national at-
tention or appeal to sufficiently affect government policy. In the United States,
producer- driven groups such as the National Family Farm Coalition have been able
to provide a “farming face” for the movement. However, they have not been able to
garner the kind of visibility or public support that French unions such as the Con-
fédération Paysanne have.
5. Current regulations regarding certified organic foods require that they be free of
genetically modified raw materials, irradiation, synthetic chemicals, hormones, and
antibiotics. Certified organic foods may be classified as “100 percent organic,” “cer-
tified organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.”
6. The term alter- globalization was coined in the late 1990s in response to the Zapa-
tista motto, “Another world is possible.” As the term for globalization in French is
mondialization (translated loosely as “worldization”), French activists sought to re-
tain the idea of worldization, which they saw as implying the possibility of a unified
and balanced world. The prefix alter- suggests notions of alterity, alternatives, and
change. Thus, rather than use the term antimondialization, French activists tend to
use the term altermondialization to express the idea that an alternate world is pos-
Previous Page Next Page