Nestle, the world’s largest food company, is known for having a monopoly on many foods. In their newest attempt to make even more money and gain more control over the world food supply, Nestle is now seeking a patent on the use of fennel.
Fennel, also known as “Nigella Sativa,” “black seed” and “black cumin,” has been used as a healing herb for over 3,000 years. It was one of the precious herbs placed in Tutankhamun’s tomb, and has been a major component of Indian and Middle Eastern gastronomy for centuries. If you go to the health food department of any grocery store you will find fennel teas that are used to relieve stomach ailments, soothe the symptoms of the common cold, treat asthma and promote general wellness. Some claim that fennel also heals by acting on the human body’s opioid receptors, helping the body to cope with pain. These positive effects on opioid receptors have lead scientists to use fennel to help people who are trying to deal with addiction to opiates such as morphine and heroin.
Despite these facts, Nestle has announced that it “discovered” Thymoquinone, the major chemical in fennel, and is seeking a patent on its “new invention.” On the face of it, the announcement sounds like a silly claim from a corporation that doesn’t know much about natural foods. But in reality it warns of a very ominous future for people who chose to eat healthy. If Nestle gains this patent, it could sue any other company that tries to sell fennel. Furthermore, a patent on the fennel would create a monopoly whereby Nestle being the only proprietor can raise the price of this modest herb to sky high proportions.
For those of us who enjoy fennel in our tea, Nestle’s proposed patent/ monopoly is an annoying prospect. But for people who are trying to address a life-threatening drug addiction to opiates, and might not be able to obtain an economical natural cure because Nestle will hold the monopoly, this is a travesty that could literally ruin people’s lives. This kind of unethical practice that controls the use of plants is known as “Bio-Piracy,” and has been committed in the past by large corporations.
Nestle is no stranger to controversy. Critics say that the company buys cocoa from plantations that use child slave labor. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nestle sold a baby formula and marketed it to poor countries. The advertising campaign promoted this formula as the modern way to feed babies, suggesting that rich Americans and Europeans fed their babies this way and that good parents the world over should have followed their example. As part of the advertising campaign, salespeople dressed up in nurse’s uniforms and gave samples of the formula to mothers in third world countries, advising that if they wanted healthy children, they would buy Nestle’s product. The formula had to be mixed with water, and these mothers used the only water that they had available, a contaminated supply that caused malnutrition and death for many children.
Many people said that Nestle could not have foreseen this epidemic, and should therefore have not been held responsible for the deaths of these children. Yet when the company was confronted with the facts, they did not rush to help these poor mothers and children, but instead sued the newspapers for libel. For more information on this tragedy, see the following link-
Nestle is currently marketing fennel in their European baby food known as “NaturNes.” The product is currently marketed as a natural baby food, and ironically is in the same health food section of the store as the products that it threatens to topple if and when the fennel monopoly is established.
What you can do:
Sign the petition at the following site asking Nestle to cease in its patent process.
Boycott Nestle products and instead chose products that are truly natural. The list is daunting, and chances are you have at least one or two Nestle products in your home, but if you want to stop the monopoly on the global food market, you can check out the A to Z listing of Nestle’s products on their website-
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