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Moms March Across America to Label GMOs

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Genetically modified foods have stirred debate among industry supporters and opponents ever since they were introduced to market in the mid-1990s.
 

Among concerns are links to allergies in children, pesticide resistance, which could lead to the evolution of superweeds, and seed contamination on farms that do not harvest them, leading to the unknown genetic makeup of the resulting crops and lawsuits for patent infringement.
 

Supporters argue that there has been adequate testing and approval in the scientific community on GM crops and that potentially allergy-inducing proteins can be isolated in the lab to test their actual effects, while labeling advocates in the U.S. say that the FDA does not really regulate them, allowing private companies to determine that they are safe to consume instead. The Center for Disease Control reports an 18 percent increase in children with food allergies since 1997, roughly when GMOs hit the shelves.


According to the Center for Food Safety, 20 years ago the FDA decided not to require labeling GMOs because they were not "materially" different than their organic counterparts. It defined material difference as something that could be detected through the senses, rather than the underlying nutritional and genetic makeup of the food in question.  
 

One of the vocal opponents of GMOs is the group Moms Across America, whose members will be marching in towns across the country on July 4 to demand that grocery stores label GM foods on their shelves so that consumers can make a choice about what they put in their bodies and what kind of agricultural practices they support.
 

The Institute for Responsible Technology, which has published a detailed paper on the risks of GMOs, lists 10 reasons, related to their health and environmental side effects, to avoid GMOs:

  • The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.
  • GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs...Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
  • Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn't require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency.
  • Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe.
  • Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
  • Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses.
  • Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all.
  • The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population.

 

The European Union seems to have already reached this tipping point with more than half the surveyed population believing they are unhealthy and with an official GMO ban in place that affects 56 percent of the population.
 

Although Congress failed to pass a bill that would have allowed states to make their own decisions on requiring the labeling of GMOs on the eve of the global March Against Monsanto one month ago, the state of Connecticut recently passed its own legislation to label GMOs, which it defined as "food that is intended for human consumption and seed that is intended to produce food for human consumption, which has been genetically altered by scientists to improve its ability to grow in non-native environments, resist pests, tolerate extreme weather conditions, produce more food (like milk in cows), or show other desired traits." While there is a caveat - four other Northeastern states must do the same for the Connecticut law to go into effect - there are legislative efforts under way in New York and Washington state.
 

The Say No to GMOs campaign and action center provides links to the latest news, written and visual documentation and distributable flyers on what GMOs are, whether they are safe, the state of regulation and labeling in the U.S., their effects on children's health, the level of corporate influence on food systems, and their environmental effects.