As I have outlined in my previous post, international fertiliser and seed companies have created hybrid seeds, which have turned out to be a blessing and a curse. Hybrid seeds produce fantastic yields and offer other advantages. On the other hand farmers can not use seeds from hybrid plants to seeds the next year's crop end up becoming dependent on the seed company. This has led to tens of thousands of suicides in India and elsewhere.
Seed breeders, small and large alike (like Sativa in Switzerland), have been able to use hybrid plants to breed with them and create new varieties which are freely reproducible and carry most, if not all, of the good properties of the original hybrid seeds. This is extremely liberating, especially for small farmers. Breeding such a new variety takes 8 to 10 generations, so in most cases 8 to 10 years.
The large seed companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and co. are not happy that any one of their seed creations could end up being used by other seed companies who continue breeding and thus make it possible for farmers to reproduce the seeds themselves. So they have created what is known as CMS (cytoplasmic male sterility) seeds - eunuch seeds, otherwise known as terminator seeds. These seeds have been modified through a process called protoplast fusion, where two distinct plants of the same or different species are fused together to create a new hybrid. So for example, normal wheat which has all the properties the seed manufacturer wants gets fused together with sterile wheat to create a sterile hybrid of the two.
The Wikipedia article on protoplast fusion starts as follows: "Protoplast fusion is a genetic modification in plants...". Since GMO (genetically modified organisms) are forbidden in most EU countries and Switzerland, we have nothing to worry, it would seem. Wrong. The EU simply changed its definition of what "genetically modified" means and decided that protoplast fusion is now not part of that definition. Period.
EU law also states that every farmer has the right to reproduce seeds for his own use, with no regard to patents or other intellectual property. It is a fundamental right. But of course terminator seeds can not reproduce. So the farmer may still have the right to do it, he just doesn't have the possibility any more.
This way, a more than 5000 year tradition of spreading seeds and breeding seeds has been hijacked by few seed corporations which (ab)use their position for the sole purpose of driving profits.
My issue with CMS is not that it is unhealthy for human consumption. It is not. The issue is that the seeds which are being planted by our farmers come from fewer and fewer companies and innovation and diversity gets shot dead, all for the sake of profits.