This is a Call to Action for a Non-Hierarchical Occupation of Monsanto Everywhere
Whether you like it or not, chances are Monsanto contaminated the food you ate today with chemicals and unlabeled GMOs. Monsanto controls much of the world's food supply at the expense of food democracy worldwide. This site is dedicated to empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto & it's enablers like the FDA, USDA, EPA, GMA, BIO, and the processed food companies that use Monsanto's products.
All across America, events like the demonstration today, in Daytona Beach Florida, are taking place. What is all the excitement? It’s Proposition 37, which will be on the ballot for California voters this November. Californians are again, at the cutting edge of what could change America for the better. As the Silicon Valley pioneered computers and technology, they are pioneering this food fight against chemical companies such as Monsanto and DuPont.
For the first time, in American history, GMO labeling is getting on the ballot; Finally, GMO’s are going to have their day in the court of public opinion. Proposition 37 was an initiative brought forward by voters, therefore, it cannot be removed from the ballot in California. In other cases, Monsanto has threatened lawsuits and states have backed down from this battle, however, California’s governing officials canNOT remove this initiative from the ballot based on California law. A clear victory for the Ballot Initiative Process in California.
This issue has been bought, intimidated and threatened out of many courtrooms, but this time, Monsanto’s money won’t buy or bully the outcome. It is up to the voters. It is up to us. Let’s work together to help others become aware of the dangers and unknowns of GMO’s. Let’s support Proposition 37 from where we are, to encourage those fighting on the front lines, to continue fighting the good fight.
I will be posting videos about our event in Daytona Beach Florida! There will be more events planned across the nation as election day nears. You are invited to stand with us as we stand against GMO’s.
The US is infamous for its food and drink portion sizes. Movie theatres offer beverages in sizes as large as 1.5 litres.
But now New York has become the first city to approve a ban on the sale of super-sized sugary drinks.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the ban is an attempt to tackle the city’s soaring obesity rate.
More than half of New Yorkers are either obese or overweight. The city’s health authority estimates 5,000 people die every year from obesity-related health problems.
But the measure has been fiercely criticised by the US soft drinks industry – which spent more than $1m in an advertising campaign against the move – arguing that the law restricts consumer freedom.
And the issue points to a wider debate about food safety and regulation.
The powerful food lobby – made up of more than 50 food and beverage groups – has spent more than $175m lobbying since Barack Obama, the US president, took office in 2009.
One of its principal targets is to prevent a California law coming into force that would force labeling on products made with genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs. That is despite concerns over the safety of GMO products.
Among the key findings in the report GMO Myths and Truths co-authored by genetic engineers and released in June are:
genetic manipulation has not been proven safe in the long-term
genetically-modified seeds can produce toxins or allergens in the food itself
animal feeding trials have shown disturbances in liver and kidney function, and in immune responses
most GM crops are engineered to incorporate either herbicides or pesticides into a plant’s DNA
one heavily-used pesticide – Monsanto’s Roundup – was found to cause birth defects, reproductive and neurological problems, cancer and even damage to DNA
In the 1990s, the meat, dairy and agricultural industries pushed a series of “food disparagement laws” through some state legislatures – 13 states have some form of these so-called “veggie libel laws” – making it easier to sue people and groups who criticise food products.
Critics say the laws actually lowered previously existing legal standards for malice and falsehood. In some states, it is illegal to even photograph corporate farms.
On Tuesday a new report is expected to paint a bleak picture of obesity rates in the US.
Earlier Al Jazeera asked John Banzhaf, a public interest lawyer who in recent has been focusing on the food industry’s role in the nation’s obesity, why he believes using the law was the correct strategy to combat public health problems.
Among other things, he said: “All the conventional remedies aren’t working, education isn’t working… We litigate until the legislators begin to legislate… The US agribusinesses, food corporations and regulatory bodies are all too incestuous…
“All too often our agencies and also our foundations are more interested in getting the co-operation and cuddling up, for example, with the manufacturers of soft drinks rather than simply imposing restrictions on them.”
In this episode Inside Story Americas asks: Will regulation help improve our eating habits?
Joining presenter Shihab Rattansi to discuss this are guests: Tom Philpott, the food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones magazine; Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a professor of food nutrition and public policy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and the former president of the American Agricultural Economics Association; and Adam Eidinger, a spokesperson for the Occupy Monsanto movement, a group campaigning for labelling of food products containing GMO.
“We need to do everything we can to stop the growth in obesity and chronic diseases in the US…right now one-third of the US population is overweight, another third is obese and the last third will become obese if we don’t do something.”
- Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a professor of food nutrition and public policy
“A better angle would be to tax sugar inserters and to do that in a fairer way is to tax sugar and then take the proceeds and invest them in expanding access to healthy foods in low-income areas.”
- Tom Philpott, a food and agriculture blogger
“We are the only country that believes that GMOs are both substantially equivalent and at the same time unique enough to patent, and that was a policy that put in place by the industry. It’s a monopoly and the government is doing the bidding of this monopoly. It’s time to break it up.”
- Adam Eidinger, an ‘Occupy Monsanto’ spokesperson
HEALTH PROBLEMS LINKED TO SUGARY FOODS:
There is plenty of evidence that eating sugary foods contributes to high rates of obesity. But a recent series of studies have also linked sugar intake to Alzheimer’s.
Scientists believe that Alzheimer’s is largely caused by the brain becoming resistant to insulin.
Recent research suggests excess sugar consumption leads to insulin resistance.
In addition to other functions, insulin regulates the neurotransmitters crucial for memory and learning.
It is also important for the function and growth of blood vessels which supply the brain with oxygen and glucose.
Yesterday saw a handful of new developments in the push to align voters either in favor of or against Proposition 37, a measure that would require food producers who knowingly use genetically modified crops to label them as such, and prevent such producers from referring to their products as “natural.”
Women Occupy San Diego, one of the lasting and perhaps most prominent local groups to emerge from the Occupy Wall Street movement that began one year ago yesterday, organized a rally at the Hillcrest headquarters of Canvass for a Cause on Monday afternoon.
Several speakers decried the potential health impacts from genetically altered products, noting that the products have been shown to contain increased levels of allergens and that modified crops, marketed by chemical giant Monsanto as “Roundup-ready,” are treated with considerably higher doses of herbicides, as the seeds have been engineered to resist the effects of the company’s signature weed killer, allowing farmers to douse their entire crops at will to control weeds.
The Occupellas, a chorus group featuring members of Women Occupy, sang familiar yet re-branded tunes such as “Old Monsanto Had a Farm,” and a crew of demonstrators arrived with a large “Monster of Monsanto” prop that accompanied the crowd, which had swelled to over 100, as they marched toward the SR-163 overpass at Robinson Avenue.
Original plans had called for a second group of protesters to demonstrate on the bridge crossing University at the 163, but as of shortly after 5 p.m. only one bridge was occupied. Several police cruisers stood by to survey the action, but neither the demonstrators nor members of the public seemed inclined to violence.
Meanwhile, backers and detractors of the Prop 37 campaign sent out dueling press releases.
The Yes contingent seeks to draw attention to new funding received by its opponent, information made public by the state last Friday. Monsanto gave the No campaign another $2.9 million, raising its total stake in defeating the proposition to $7.1 million. Other pesticide companies recently upped their investments, including DuPont ($874,800), Dow AgroSciences ($815,200), Bayer CropScience ($381,600), BASF Plant Science ($357,700), and Syngenta ($178,700).
These groups, which measure proponents are calling the “Big 6 pesticide firms” have contributed $19 million of the $32 million raised so far by those opposing the proposition.
Others investing heavily in defeating Prop 37 include Pepsi ($1,716,300 to date), Nestle USA ($1,169,400), Coca-Cola ($1,164,400), and ConAgra Foods ($1,076,700). At number 7 on the list of highest donors, only Nestle USA (itself a subsidiary of the Swiss parent company) is based in California.
Opponents of 37 didn’t leave long to question where the influx of cash would go, announcing a major buy of radio ads to be aired statewide beginning yesterday.
“Prop. 37 is about the right to sue,” says California Grocers Association president Ronald K. Fong in a statement accompanying the ad copy. “And when it is time to sue, grocery retailers will be at the head of the line to get hit with a lawsuit. Lawyers need no proof, no damages prior to filing the lawsuit.”
The ad makes similar claims, and also says that the new labeling requirements would “increase food costs for a typical California family by hundreds of dollars per year” while “[giving] trial lawyers a special new right to file shakedown lawsuits.”
The ad closes by advertising “FactsOn37.com,” a website that was not active as of Monday evening, though the campaign website makes many similar claims and links to the study that is the basis of the figure given on higher food costs, finding that the costs of food prices could rise $4.5-$5.2 billion if the proposition is passed, mainly because producers would prefer using non-bioengineered crops to having to disclose their continued use.
“It’s an infinitesimal amount cost per product, but they’re going to say it’ll cost you hundreds,” predicted Jeffrey Smith, a consumer activist and author on genetically modified crops, in a statement about a week before the survey was posted to the No on 37 website. Smith was speaking about the cost of continuing to use the same products while producing packaging compliant with the new law, which producers are widely expected to shy away from due to real or perceived concerns from consumers regarding laboratory-altered food.
While no other U.S. state currently has such a law on the books, 50 countries including China, India, Japan, and all of Europe requires such disclosure.
Next, we will be talking with Adam from Occupy Monsanto (starts at 36:00) about this week’s actions by the Occupy Monsanto Genetic Crimes Unit. Over 75 protests are scheduled for this week to confront industrial agriculture and Frankenfoods. The protests got off to a great start with an action in Oxnard, CA where activists shut down all three entrances to the Monsanto seed distribution plant! We’ll hear about that and all the other actions going on. An interactive map with times, dates and locations of the 75+ other protests can be found at http://occupy-monsanto.com/genetic-crimes-unit/