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March Against Monsanto
We consumers really don't know what were getting anymore when we buy food from a grocery store. Genetically Modified Organisms are so pervasive in our food system that it is very difficult to avoid purchasing or eating them. Foods containing GMOs are unlabeled in our grocery stores mainly because the big biotech giants who put them there fought to keep that a secret from you.
For example, the growth hormones from GE organisms known as rBGH, which is given to cows to make them produce more milk, were banned in Europe and Canada after the authorities found out about the health risks resulting from drinking milk from cows treated with rBGH hormones. Some American milk producers started labeling their milk "rBGH and rBST free." Monsanto, which sells the bovine growth hormones under the brand name Posilac, began suing dairy producers to force them to stop labeling their milk. Monsanto won many of these lawsuits making it expensive and dangerous for farmers to label their products.
In addition to most milk products, GMOs can be found in most commercially farmed meats and processed foods on store shelves. In our country, 89 percent of all soy, 61 percent of all corn and 75 percent of all canola are genetically altered. Other foods like commercially grown papaya, zucchini, tomatoes, several fish species, and food additives like enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet(r)) and rennet used to make hard cheeses, also contain GMOs. In fact, most processed foods and fast foods are likely to contain GMOs because of the multitude of processing chemicals and additives.
What's so bad about these GMOs is that they have never been truly tested for their impact on human or ecological health. Additionally, negative side effects have been largely ignored; remember Starlink Corn and how it caused allergic reactions in some consumers? We also don't know what these Franken foods will do to the environment once they cross-pollinate with other species. Unfortunately, we may never know or see any restrictions placed on companies producing mutant foods because our president signed an unprecedented bill into law that gives Monsanto protection from being held accountable or liable.
Many people are fed up with Monsanto, and are getting organized across the country. "March Against Monsanto" is a grass-roots effort to draw attention to the pervasive threat of GMOs in our food system and demand labeling and accountability. On May 25, across the nation there will be many small marches and events aiming for these goals:
—Vote with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
—Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
—Repealing relevant provisions of the United State's "Monsanto Protection Act."
—Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
—Hold Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
—Continue to inform the public about Monsanto's secrets.
If you can't find a March Against Monsanto event near you, start telling your friends and family to avoid GMOs by:
—Knowing how your food is grown by buying directly from local farmers who grow it.
—Support organic agriculture, and food producers who label their ingredients, particularly dairy farmers.
—Eat pastured meat raised on organic feed. The only way to ensure this is to buy from someone you know.
—Support farmers who are a sued by biotech giants. Monsanto has set aside an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting more than 150 farmers for a total of more than $15 million dollars.
Write your representatives and demand labeling on all GMO-containing products so that we at least have a choice.
Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning columnist and founder of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at Shawn@ShawnDellJoyce.com. To find out more about Shawn Dell Joyce and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM