Keep Your Frankenfood Outta My Publix (or at Least Label It, Please): Protesters Rally Against Genetically Modified Foods

Categories: Happening
gmo free florida.jpg
Photo by Sara Ventiera
Trish Sheldon of GMO Free Florida and Alyse Opatowski of Food and Water Watch lead protesters in "Rally for the Right to Know."

Despite stormy weather Friday afternoon, as part of Occupy Monsanto's Global Week of Action, a group of individuals turned out for the national endeavor to require mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in foods. The protesters are hoping to garner support for a California initiative -- Proposition 37 -- that will require labeling of GMO foods. The initiative is scheduled for the November ballot.

Organized by GMO Free Florida and Food & Water Watch, the local "Rally for the Right to Know" took place in front of Fort Lauderdale's BM Organics Market. 

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Clean Plate Charlie spoke to GMO-Free Florida's Trish Sheldon about the group's goals. "We're hopeful that Prop 37 will happen in November. If it passes, it will pave the way for the rest of the country. We're working to get an initiative on our 2013 ballot in Florida. It's going to take a lot of awareness to make that happen. That's why we're out here. We have a right to know what's in our food."

Sheldon's group has joined forces with other groups in an attempt to garner more support. According to Alyse Opatowski of Food & Water Watch, "We just had our kick-off meeting Wednesday to launch our 'Let Me Decide' campaign urging [state] Sen. Eleanor Sobel to champion a bill requiring labeling on all food. We had over 40 people who were active and excited to take this to the next level."

The two groups originally joined forces over the possible use of genetically modified mosquitoes as a means to curb native mosquito populations and the spread of dengue fever in the Florida Keys. After the mosquito scare, Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch moved its teams to Florida cities to work on the GMO food issue.

Sheldon says, "Fifty countries have banned or required mandatory labeling of GMO foods -- even China. Why don't we in the U.S.? Nine out of ten people, when polled, state that they don't want to eat genetically engineered foods, but they're not even aware that they eat it three times a day in packaged and processed foods. We should have a choice whether or not we eat these potentially harmful foods that lack adequate long-term safety studies."

Both groups will hold a meeting Tuesday at 6:30 at BM Organics (4861 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale). For more information, email Trish Sheldon at trish@gmofreefl.com or Alyse Opatowski at aopatowski@fwwlocal.org.






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23 comments
Corey_T
Corey_T

Its rediculous that we are treated as expendable cogs in the machine that is the US agricultural / mass produced food industry. Nothing more than worker ants in the grand scheme.

 

Every other major country in the world protects their citizens from corporate greed that cares nothing about the human factor. Not here. Never have I felt so blatantly disregarded as a US citizen as when I realized that my health can be sold in congress for a donation to a reelection.

 

I voted for these people. I bought the products. I am to blame for my actions.

Therefore:

I choose not to buy these products and I choose not to support those who would turn a blind eye to the health of the constituents whose back they ride upon.

 

 

KK4Labeling
KK4Labeling

I am so excited to see GMO Free Florida and Food & Water Watch coalesce into the powerhouse Florida needs to  promote awareness of GMO issues. With California well on its way, it's time for Florida to be enlightened. Florida is ready to hear what these groups have to say, and I am confident that GMO labeling initiatives will be warmly welcomed. Just this evening NPR did an segment on Breast Cancer, I was so proud to hear caller after caller chime in on the discussion to stress that it is our artificial diets and increased encounters with carcinogens that is causing the increase in breast cancer rates. I think this is true evidence that people are ready to listen and act on these issues.  

 

To comment on previous posts regarding the need to stress that there are two sides to this issue... I agree! There are two sides, and in all my research on this issue I always find myself amazed by the scientific and technological advances Monsanto and other Biotech companies have made. Extremely talented individuals have created these technologies and their achievements should never be discredited. However, it is now the time to step back and realize that things have gone too far. The advances in GE foods, which may have once been considered the answer to world hunger are now destroying our environment and our health. 

 

"By and large, our present problem is one of attitudes and implements. We are remodeling the Alhambra with a steam-shovel, and we are proud of our yardage. We shall hardly relinquish the shovel, which after all has many good points, but we are in need of gentler and more objective criteria for its successful use." Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic, in A Sand County Almanac (1949).

 

rssoundinc
rssoundinc

Trish is absolutely correct, as if it isn't obvious the merit of the cause here. Her spotlight on the GMO labeling issue has, over time, come to resonate inside me as THE pertinent issue regarding our collective health as human beings. It is the ultimate insidious act of corporate America to literally shove their crap down my throat without me knowing. Let's change that and support this initiative, please.

stoppoisonfood
stoppoisonfood

There are many issues with GMOs. First and foremost is the negligence of the FDA and USDA to require independent testing. They allow the Biotech companies to do their own safety testing, which is ALWAYS manipulated for a favorable (to them) outcome. In fact, when GMOs were first up for approval at the FDA, their own scientists said there were “unique animal and food safety concerns”. Who overruled the scientists? The man in charge of FDA policy, Michael Taylor. He was Monsanto’s former attorney, and later their VP. The White House under "daddy" Bush instructed the FDA to promote the biotech industry, so the FDA created a new position for Taylor, Then, if a GM crop was proposed for the market, they don’t even have to tell the FDA. The Obama administration then promoted Taylor to US Food Safety Czar.

Genetic engineering is quite distinct from selective breeding because it involves taking genes from a completely different species and inserting them into the DNA of a plant or animal a/k/a it would not happen in nature! A fish and a tomato can't mate! The long term effects of this for our health and our planet’s biodiversity are unknown.  The two primary reasons why plants are engineered are to allow them to either drink poison, or produce poison. 

“Several animal studies,” according to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, reveal a long list of disorders, including: “infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, [faulty] insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.”  GM crops were widely introduced in 1996. Within nine years, the incidence of people in the US with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled—from 7% to 13%. Visits to the emergency room due to allergies doubled from 1997 to 2002. And overall food related illnesses doubled from 1994 to 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and autism are also among the conditions that are skyrocketing in the US.

 

So why label GMOs in the USA?  The question is, obviously, why not? GMOs have the potential to be even more deadly than Trans Fats and Sodium, which are among currently labeled ingredients. It's a safety thing. But with obvious biotech influence at all levels of the government, from Taylor at the FDA to Thomas (also an ex-Monsanto attorney) on the Supreme Court, the cards are stacked for the corporations and against consumers. THE GOVERNMENT IS PLAYING POLITICS WITH YOUR HEALTH!

 

 

sharonsigal
sharonsigal

It is so sad to see that the USA is more concerned with the financial aspects of the food industry rather than the health of its citizens. How can it be that in Europe and Asia GMO foods are being banned in efforts to safeguard their citizens. We are a nation of decency and pride ,shouldn't it start by safeguarding our citizens as well. Ban GMO foods or at least label them to allow people to decide whether to buy them or not. We need more people to speak up against Monsanato and Ban, Ban, Ban GMO'S

honest-abe
honest-abe

All you have to do is search on "study of gmo food for humans," "gmo study in humans," "gmo food study in rats," "gmo food study rats tumors," etc. in Google and Google Scholar to see voluminous studies showing the damaging effects of GM foods on living organisms. Many countries around the world have banned and are banning GMOs, not just based on public outcry, but on the scientific facts. http://bit.ly/oMzmla Just a few days ago yet another study was announced http://bit.ly/Ujooqy  showing rats fed Monsanto GM corn caused organ failure, massive tumor growth, and premature death. No GM industry shills data mining and usurping comments are going to stop the truth.

shroomer
shroomer

Good size crowd there. So glad to see this Information War being fought . People need to know . People deserve the Right to choose GM foods or NOT !  Seems Simple enough . If it weren't for the Corporate Greed . Hard to believe China is MORE concerned with food safety than USA .

westhamfan
westhamfan

Ft. Lauderdale ROCKS! We have a right to know what's in our food, just like the 50 countries around that world that require labeling of genetically engineered food. All of Europe, China, Russian, Japan, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, India & more... require labeling. The first independent long term peer reviewed study on GMOs was published last week. The results were not pretty. More long term studies need to be done to determine the safety of GMOs. Without labeling, there is no way to correlate the relationship of health problems such as breast cancer, organ damage and premature death to GMOs. Americans have the right to know if their food contains ingredients which are patented by chemical companies that genetically engineered them in a lab and turned them into EPA registered pesticides. That's right. GMO Bt corn is an EPA registered pesticide. When corn worms bite into it, their stomach explode. When people bite into it... unless we label it there will be no way to know. Thank you to everyone who is working on labeling GMOs in Florida  <3

annerq
annerq

Consumers have a right to know what we are SPENDING our money on....Boils down to Consumer RIGHTS.......

Cydwilson
Cydwilson

What's taking the US so long?! Well, smells like big biotech companies caring more about their current profits than about the health of current customer and future generations. Pee eww! Way to bring this to the public's attention! Tell the stores NOT to stock products with HIDDEN dangers! The jury IS still out and our children shouldn't be the guinea pigs.

Whack-a-mole
Whack-a-mole

Good ol' Sara -- taking a picture and rewriting the press release!

 

Why don't they want GMO food?  What are their concerns?  What does the 'other side'  -- the food manufacturers say? What science is available to condemn or accept GMOs?  How does being a hater of GMO  mosquitos translate to being a hater of GMO food?  Are these groups in favor of dengue fever?  Doesn't their use of weasel words like 'potentially' and 'long-term' mean the jury is still out on the safety of GMOs?

 

What's this about a 2013 ballot in Florida?

saraventiera
saraventiera

 @Southoceandrive  You changed your pseudonym. I think I kind of miss the old one!

 

If it wasn't clear, they are trying to get a mandatory labeling initiative on the ballot in 2013. Like any issue of this scale, both sides have studies supporting their claims; but these people, as well as many others, want to know what they're eating.

 

If you have questions about the mosquito issue, you can check out the links above.

 

Thanks for checking in!

shroomer
shroomer

 @Southoceandrive South O  you might be to young to remember things like DDT  , Agent Orange  or thalidomide . But they, like Genetic Modification, were used before they were tested for harmful side affects and the consequences were devastating . Already in Europe ,where scientists still have freedom , the harmful side affects are already understood .

Whack-a-mole
Whack-a-mole

 @saraventiera "Like any issue of this scale, both sides have studies supporting their claims; but these people, as well as many others, want to know what they're eating." 

 

If you're aware of these studies, why weren't they part of your article?  This is not a simple story of a crime report -- who did it, what happened, where did it occur,  when did it happen, why did the crime take place, how was the crime performed.

 

You take a specific point of view -- unsupported by any scientific evidence -- and report it as fact.  Oh, and with a picture. Good on ya!

 

You purport to be a reporter, but present an unsubstantiated, one-sided view of a situation.  Your 'career' is built on one-sided reporting -- but heretofore has been innocuous:  "Farmer Jim is a good guy -- here's why . . ."

Whack-a-mole
Whack-a-mole

 @shroomer Just to be clear -- I didn't say that GMOs are wonderful, that they are beneficial, that they are anything positive.  But a free press in this country should present both sides of the issue, and allow the public to decide (Oh, Christ -- isn't that close to Faux News' catch phrase?)

 

Give me reports, studies, peer reviewed papers that put GMOs in the same category as DDT, Agent Orange, Thalidomide.  Or, give me studies that show GMOs to be as beneficial as penicillin, or the multiple polio vaccines -- or flouride in the drinking water!

 

If this is so well understood in Europe, why weren't those studies included in the article?

 

My point is that Sara took a picture and re-wrote the press release of one side of an important issue -- and I don't think that's responsible journalism.

 

Too young? --  I was sprayed with Agent Orange; I'm personally  (and painfully) familiar with the thalidomide issue;  I've read the DDT works.  But your ad hominem attacks don't change Sara's one-sided presentation of what she thinks the situation is.

 

By the bye -- the fact that China is taking a different tack than the United States makes me kinda think we might be on to something!  To hold Beijing as a standard for the world . . . ?

saraventiera
saraventiera

 @Southoceandrive I'm impressed that you are so familiar with my work!

 

We may be reading my words differently, but the purpose of this piece was to report a rally; not to debate GMOs. 

Guest
Guest

@Southoceandrive@shroomer

The Nuremberg Code  1. "The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legalcapacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him/her to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonable to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity."

 

Regulatory studies for GE foods are 28-90 day rodent trials and no long-term or human studies are conducted for approval.  Therefore consumers are the experiment and any company that does not label the GE ingredients in their products are contributing to an experiment on humans without allowing for the consent of the human subject.  The individuals at these companies responsible for their refusal to label the GE ingredients in their products should be charged with crimes against humanity!

 

If you want to be part of a medical experiment that is your choice but it is a violation of the rights of every person who does not.  This isn't one sided journalism, it is humans unknowingly and often unwillingly being used as a medical experiment.  Regardless of what preliminary studies on animals suggest, humans have the right to choose whether to be part of a medical experiment or not and asking for animal studies has nothing to do with the story which is about the right to know and the right to choose to be experimented on or not.

shroomer
shroomer

 @Southoceandrive ok sorry .I suppose I too see things one sided myself .If you google search Monsanto you will find plenty of studies proving the dangers of GMO's and studies funded by Monsanto challenging them  . I would think your own  personal  encounter Agent Orange and  the devastation it caused would suffice as evidence NOT to eat it .As far as not trusting Beijing I do not see them invading other countries to steal their resources for Corporate gain .WE went to nam they never came to Mexico .

occupyshannon
occupyshannon

 @Southoceandrive  @shroomer "both sides" has been used to justify the most errant nonsense. "balance" doesn't mean giving the same coverage to the "opposing" corporate position as equal in value to the science and/or consumer rights - that's the argument that's been perpetuated by fox and taken up by mainstream news. In any case, she's reporting on a protest - not GMOs themselves - and her report is appropriate to the task

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