In a move that further cemented Big Ag’s control over our food supply, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich just recently granted Swiss seed giant Syngenta a patent on seedless chili peppers and their use “as fresh produce, as fresh cut produce, or for processing.” The patent also covers the plants, their cultivation, harvesting and seeds.
Generally, European patent law prohibits patents on processes for conventional breeding. The EPO, however, continues to grant patents on plants, seeds and fruits derived from such processes. By circumventing its own rules, the EPO gains a bigger budget thanks to fees derived from its services.
Though the European Commission has already undertaken steps to analyze patent rules and trends on conventional breeding, most observers remain doubtful about seeing concrete changes in current policies.
International coalition No Patents on Seeds! has already begun calling for a revision of European Patent Laws, with the support of hundreds of organizations all over Europe.
However, at the alarming rate by which these patents are granted, many fear it that won’t take long before corporate giants completely dominate our food supply.