“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” – Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
The Organic Consumers Organization (OCA), has partnered with a coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals to create a bold mobilization of concerned citizens across America to pressure the government about the lack of labeling of Genetically Engineered foods people unknowingly consume. Such foods are also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as thousands of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles from the United Nations’ Headquarters to the White House. The marchers are looking for support from communities along the route, which can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org
“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join kick off of the March October 1 at the United Nations in New York.
The March will rally in a broad swath of East Coast cities and towns including:
- New York: Brooklyn, New York City
- New Jersey: Jersey City, Newark, Millburn, Union, Springfield, Scotch Plains, New Brunswick, Princeton
- Pennsylvania: Morrisville, Trevose, Jenkintown, Philadelphia, Springfield
- Delaware: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark
- Maryland: Darlington, Monkton, Timonium, Baltimore, Elicott City, Jessup, Laurel, College Park, Takoma Park, and Washington, DC.
If you or people you know are still on the fence about the dangers of growing and consuming genetically modified foods the Organic Consumers Association has put together “10 Things Monsanto Does Not Want You To Know” about the monster foods they have been growing and feeding to the world.
What’s wrong with Genetic Engineering?
Genetic engineering is a radical technology that breaks down genetic barriers between humans, plants and animals. Once released, these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can easily spread and interbreed with other organisms, and they are virtually impossible to recall back to the laboratory.
Monsanto provides roughly 90% of GMO seeds in the world. These seeds have been genetically modified to produce their own pesticide or survive repeated spraying of their toxic herbicide Roundup. Monsanto’s GMOs are not designed to increase yields to feed the world, but rather to increase Monsanto’s profits by increasing the use of chemicals such as Roundup and selling their high-priced patented seeds which farmers must buy every year.
Due to the enormous political clout of Monsanto, the American public is being denied the right to know whether their foods are genetically engineered or not. Following is a list of 10 facts about Monsanto and GMOs, and how they can adversely affect your health, local farmers, and the planet.
1. No GMO Labeling Laws in the US
Foods containing GMO’s don’t have to be labeled in the US. Monsanto has fought hard to prevent labeling laws. This is alarming, since approximately 70% of processed foods in the US now contain GMO ingredients. The European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations now require mandatory GMO labeling.
2. Lack of Adequate Safety Testing
In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle announced the FDA’s anti consumer right-to-know policy, which stated that GMO foods need not be labeled nor safety-tested. Meanwhile, prominent scientists such as Arpad Pusztai and Gilles-Eric Seralini have publicized alarming research revealing severe damage to animals fed GMO foods.
3. Monsanto Puts Small Farmers out of Business
Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer whose canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby GMO farm. Monsanto successfully argued in a lawsuit that Schmeiser violated their patent rights, and tried to force Schmeiser to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. This type of biotech bullying is happening all over North America.
4. Monsanto Products Pollute the Developing World
Monsanto’s deadly legacy includes the production of Agent Orange and DDT. Now massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia is being used by the US and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.
5. Monsanto Blocking Government Regulations
A revolving door exists between Monsanto and US regulatory and judicial bodies making key decisions. Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer, was the one who wrote the majority opinion on a key Monsanto case. Michael Taylor once worked for the FDA, later represented Monsanto as a lawyer, and then returned as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy when rBGH was granted approval. ▶
6. Monsanto Guilty of False Advertising
France’s highest court ruled in 2009 that Monsanto had lied about the safety of its weed killer Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable”.
7. Consumers Reject Bovine Growth Hormone
In the wake of mass consumer pressure, major retailers such as Safeway, Publix, Wal-Mart, and Kroger banned store brand milk products containing Monsanto’s controversial genetically engineered hormone rBGH. Starbucks, under pressure from the OCA and our allies, has likewise banned rBGH milk.
8. GMO Crops Do Not Increase Yields
A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer to the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change. Better alternatives are available, and the report championed organic farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.
9. Monsanto Controls US Soy Market
In 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the US contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the US contained Monsanto’s gene.
10. GMO Foods May Lead to Food Allergies
In March 1999, UK researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GM.