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.
Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, on Friday became the first retailer in the United States to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry.
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A. C. Gallo, president of Whole Foods, said the new labeling requirement, to be in place within five years, came in response to consumer demand. “We’ve seen how our customers have responded to the products we do have labeled,” Mr. Gallo said. “Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.”
Genetically modified ingredients are deeply embedded in the global food supply, having proliferated since the 1990s. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States, for example, have been genetically modified. The alterations make soybeans resistant to a herbicide used in weed control, and causes the corn to produce its own insecticide. Efforts are under way to produce a genetically altered apple that will spoil less quickly, as well as genetically altered salmon that will grow faster. The announcement ricocheted around the food industry and excited proponents of labeling. “Fantastic,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic advocacy group that favors labeling.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group that represents major food companies and retailers, issued a statement opposing the move. “These labels could mislead consumers into believing that these food products are somehow different or present a special risk or a potential risk,” Louis Finkel, the organization’s executive director of government affairs, said in the statement.
Mr. Finkel noted that the Food and Drug Administration, as well as regulatory and scientific bodies including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, had deemed genetically modified products safe.
The labeling requirements announced by Whole Foods will include its 339 stores in the United States and Canada. Since labeling is already required in the European Union, products in its seven stores in Britain are already marked if they contain genetically modified ingredients. The labels currently used show that a product has been verified as free of genetically engineered ingredients by the Non GMO Project, a nonprofit certification organization. The labels Whole Foods will use in 2018, which have yet to be created, will identify foods that contain such ingredients.
The shift by Whole Foods is the latest in a series of events that has intensified the debate over genetically modified foods. Voters defeated a hard-fought ballot initiative in California late last year after the biotech industry, and major corporations like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, spent millions of dollars to fight the effort. Other initiatives have qualified for the ballot in Washington State and Missouri, while consumers across the country have been waging a sort of guerrilla movement in supermarkets, pasting warning stickers on products suspected of having G.M.O. ingredients from food companies that oppose labeling. Proponents of labeling insist that consumers have a right to know about the ingredients in the food they eat, and they contend that some studies in rats show that bioengineered food can be harmful.
Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Just Label It, a campaign for a federal requirement to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients, called the Whole Foods decision a “game changer.”
“We’ve had some pretty big developments in labeling this year,” Mr. Hirshberg said, adding that 22 states now have some sort of pending labeling legislation. “Now, one of the fastest-growing, most successful retailers in the country is throwing down the gantlet.”
He compared the potential impact of the Whole Foods announcement to Wal-Mart’s decision several years ago to stop selling milk from cows treated with growth hormone. Today, only a small number of milk cows are injected with the hormone.
Karen Batra, a spokeswoman for BIO, a trade group representing the biotech industry, said it was too early to determine what impact, if any, the Whole Foods decision would have. “It looks like they want to expand their inventory of certified organic and non-G.M.O. lines,” Ms. Batra said. “The industry has always supported the voluntary labeling of food for marketing reasons.”
She contended, however, that without scientific evidence showing that genetically modified foods caused health or safety issues, labeling was unnecessary.
Nonetheless, companies have shown a growing willingness to consider labeling. Some 20 major food companies, as well as Wal-Mart, met recently in Washington to discuss genetically modified labeling.
Coincidentally, the American Halal Company, a food company whose Saffron Road products are sold in Whole Foods stores, on Friday introduced the first frozen food, a chickpea and spinach entree, that has been certified not to contain genetically modified ingredients.
More than 90 percent of respondents to a poll of potential voters in the 2012 elections, conducted by the Mellman Group in February last year, were in favor of labeling genetically modified foods. Some 93 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans in the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent, favored it.
But in the fight over the California initiative, Proposition 37, the opponents succeeded in persuading voters that labeling would have a negative effect on food prices and the livelihood of farmers.
That fight, however, has cost food companies in other ways. State legislatures and regulatory agencies are pondering labeling on their own, and consumers have been aggressive in criticizing some of the companies that fought the initiative, using Twitter and Facebook to make their views known.
In 2009, Whole Foods began submitting products in its 365 Everyday Value private-label line to verification by the Non GMO Project.
But even Whole Foods has not been immune to criticism on the G.M.O. front. A report by Cornucopia, “Cereal Crimes,” revealed that its 365 Corn Flakes line contained genetically modified corn. By the time the report came out in October 2011, the product had been reformulated and certified as organic.
Today, Whole Foods’ shelves carry some 3,300 private-label and branded products that are certified, the largest selection of any grocery chain in the country.
Mr. Gallo said Whole Foods did not consult with its suppliers about its decision and informed them of it only shortly before making its announcement Friday. He said Whole Foods looked forward to working with suppliers on the labeling.
Company supports consumer’s right to know by setting five-year deadline for labeling GMOs
Whole Foods Market announced today at Natural Products Expo West that, by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores1 must be labeled to indicate if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)2. Whole Foods Market is the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.
“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options and for consumers to choose non-GMO products. Accordingly, we are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”
Whole Foods Market has been collaborating with many of its supplier partners for several years to source products without GMO ingredients. In 2009, the company began putting its 365 Everyday Value™ line through Non-GMO Project™ verification and encouraged its grocery supplier partners to do the same. Whole Foods Market currently sells 3,300 Non-GMO Project verified products from 250 brands, more than any other retailer in North America. It will now expand this effort, working with suppliers in all categories as they transition to ingredients from non-GMO sources, or clearly label products containing GMOs by the five-year deadline. Whole Foods Market will make announcements about progress and key milestones along the way.
“We’re responding to our customers, who have consistently asked us for GMO labeling and we are doing so by focusing on where we have control: in our own stores,” said Robb.
GMOs are now part of an ongoing national conversation, thanks to efforts of various advocacy groups such as JustLabelIt.org and to individual states considering their own mandatory labeling laws, like the efforts that are now underway in Washington state. “Whole Foods Market supports that measure and looks forward to supporting other state efforts that may finally lead to one uniform set of national standards,” said Robb. “While we are encouraged by the many mandatory labeling initiatives, we are committed to moving forward with our own GMO transparency plan now.”
“We have always believed that quality and transparency are inseparable and that providing detailed information about the products we offer—such as 5-Step Animal Welfare ratings in meat, Eco Scale rated cleaning products in grocery, stringent wild and farm-raised standards in seafood, and now labeling GMOs throughout the store—is part of satisfying and delighting the millions of people who place their trust in Whole Foods Market each day,” said A.C. Gallo, president of Whole Foods Market. “This bold task will encourage manufacturers to ask deeper questions about ingredients, and it will help us provide greater transparency about the products we sell so our customers can be empowered to make informed decisions about the foods that are best for them.”
Until there is GMO labeling, consumers can rely on Non-GMO Project verified products and certified organic products if they want to avoid GMOs. The U.S. National Organic Standards prohibit the intentional use of GMO seed in the production of organic crops. As a pioneer in the U.S. organic food movement for the past 32 years, Whole Foods Market now offers thousands of organic products, the largest variety in the country.
1 The company has 7 stores in the U.K., which already requires labeling for all foods or feeds that intentionally contain or are produced from GMO ingredients.
2 Plants that have been altered through a technique that changes their genetic makeup, producing new combination of genes and traits that do not occur in nature, including the possibility of the introduction genes from other species, are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods.
It has come to our attention that Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States, has advised its members against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food.
In its Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Kaiser suggested membership limit exposure to genetically modified organisms.
“GMOs have been added to our food supply since 1994, but most people don’t know it because the United States does not require labeling of GMOs,” according to the newsletter.
Sounding like a radical organic health proponent, the huge corporate Kaiser continued, “Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health.”
Independent studies have shown GMOs to cause organ damage in rats and the inability to reproduce. Kaiser gave tips on how its members can avoid GMOs, including buying organic, looking for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal and to download the “ShopNoGMO” app.
Since corporations are required, by definition, to augment their bottom line, we think Kaiser’s efforts to encourage GMO avoidance for the members for whose health costs they must (sometimes!) pay – is telling.
What do soda, canned chicken soup, margarine, and corn flakes have in common? They all contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
GMOs have a piece of DNA from a difference species, such as bacteria or viruses, spliced into their DNA. Genetically engineered corn, for example, has DNA added so that it has a pesticide built right into it. This process creates a new species of plant that would have never occurred in nature.
WHERE DO YOU FIND GMOs?
GMOs have been added to our food supply since 1994, but most people don’t know it because the United States does not require labeling of GMOs. As of 2012, most corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, and sugar beets are genetically modified. Nearly 80 percent of processed food and most fast food contain GMOs.
Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce.
Here are several ways you can help limit your exposure to GMOs:
Buy organic. All USDA Certified Organic foods are GMO-free.
Avoid foods that contain nonorganic soy, corn, and canola or cotton-seed oil.
Look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal.
Ask your local market. For example, Trader Joe’s produce and Trader Joe’s labeled foods are GMO-free; Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday Value products are sourced to be GMO-free.
G.E. Seralini, et al. “New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize revels signs hepatorenal toxicity,” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 52: (2007) 596-602
A Kilic and M.T. Akay “A three-generation study with genetically modified Bt corn in rats: Biochemical and histopathological investigation,” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (2008) 1164-1170
A. Velimirov, et al. “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long-term reproduction studies in mice,” Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Familie und Jugend report, Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV Band (March 2008) www.biosicherheit.de/pdf/aktuell/zentek_studie_2008.pdf (*) * Corrected URL
On Tuesday, October 16, food activists around the world will be celebrating World Food Day in a various ways. One of which, will be going to Whole Foods Market and demand the stores stop selling unlabeled GMO foods.
Below is the transcribed text of the memo to Whole Foods Market employees on how to handle World Food Day activism:
WORLD FOOD DAY – OCTOBER 16 – ALL WFM STORES
WHAT: On Oct. 16, anti-GMO activists across the country are planning to stage demonstrations at many stores throughout the country. The demonstration will involve people coming to stores to return products that are “non-labeled GMO items.” Some may buy products – or even try to steal them – and then seek to return them immediately. This could cause a lot of congestion in stores and be really distracting all day, depending on the number of people participating, and how many products they try to return.
The overall purpose of World Food Day is to highlight hunger around the world. From their website: “On October 16 – World Food Day, join the global movement to end hunger. Be a part of the solution and take action in your community and around the world. We can end hunger. It will take all of us.” Refer to this site (you may need to refresh it for the latest info) to find out what Word Food Day events are going on in your area: http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/events
WHY: California has a ballot initiative coming up for a vote on Nov. 6 that would require labeling of food products that many contain GMOs – Proposition 37. Even though we have announced our support for Prop 37, many groups have targeted Whole Foods Market because we are seen as not truly supportive and/or secretly against labeling GMOs because:
We are not giving financial donations to help the ballot initiative pass
An ongoing negative online media campaign has accused WFM of lying to customers about GMOs in our stores
STRATEGY: This is an opportunity to demonstrate our true support for GMO labeling, and to educate shoppers about GMOs in general and our efforts over the years to provide Non-GMO product choices.
If your store has some Team Members who are knowledgeable about the GMO issue, you could set up a prominently displayed “GMO Info Kiosk” where TMs answer questions, provide information about GMOs and Non-GMO options available in the sore.
Schedule tastings of Non-GMO Project Verified 365 Private Label products, and use that opportunity to discuss how we source non-GMO ingredients for that product line.
Remind shoppers of the upcoming weekend sale of Non-GMO Products Oct. 19-21!
Global may have some new/additional messaging, stay tuned.
With over 75 actions worldwide this week to stand up against Monsanto and demand the right to know what is in our food, we knew we had to be a part with the Eco Womb family. With an Occupy Monsanto event scheduled in Ithaca, NY, where we just happened to be headed to meet up with friends, and with the help of the Genetic Crimes Unit team, we connected with Joanne, a local hydro-fracking activist. Together, with a handful of others who joined to stand with us throughout the day, we turned the Ithaca Commons into our educational ground from 12noon-5pm, connecting with hundreds on the importance of learning what is really in our foods, the dangers of GMOs, and why the government is not sharing this information. We handed out educational flyers from the Non-GMO Project to inform people on what a GMO is and what the detrimental effects are on farmers, our soil, and our health. We sang music to the tune of “All we want’s a simple label, for the food that’s on our table” carrying on the energy of the Right2Know March. And, we aired The World According to Monsanto all day so that passer-bys could get a glance at the evils behind Monsanto, and learn the history and ties between Monsanto and the government.
Monsanto is corrupt, and has built its fortunes as a chemical company. It claims to be a seed company, “a sustainable agriculture company” helping farmers by “improving agriculture, improving lives” – yeah right! Monsanto developed Agent Orange, PCB’s, RoundUp pesticides, and has continuously distributed false information on the level of toxicity in their products. They even claimed that dioxin was not cancerous, causing weaker environmental regulations based on falsified evidence! Now, they claim that Genetically Engineered seeds are safe – yeah right, again! We have been eating their foods since 1992 without anyone telling us, warning us, or letting us make the choice to not ingest their poisons.
The health ramifications from GMOs are so huge, and with an increase in autoimmune diseases, allergies, ADD/ADHD, asthma, decreased fertility, and even cancer over the past decade, there is no question in my mind that the two correlate. More toxins in our food, more toxins in our bloodstream, more diseases, as our bodies fight to adapt and try to keep up with all of the foreign elements we are ingesting. There have been studies that link GMOs with birth defects and cancerous tumors, and enough evidence to warrant at least restrictions or labeling laws. I personally think GMOs should be banned and Monsanto should go away! I mean why have they dumped billions of dollars into fighting against labeling with misinformation campaigns if they are so confident in their product? They want you to buy their frankenfoods. They want farmers to be dependent on them year after year. They want us to become sick ingesting their poisons and then have to circle back to the pharmaceuticals for medications to be even more dependent on drugs to prop us up. If they control the food supply, they control the people. Stop buying their products, they don’t control you anymore. If everyone did this, or enough of us did, and we voted with our forks and dollars, there would be change. And the only change that is going to happen is if they feel it in their pockets.
Did you know that Monsanto has a patent on GMO seeds? This means that they can sue farmers whose fields may become contaminated with GMOs through cross-pollination just by being near a GMO farm. GMO seeds also can’t be replanted the next year, they are a dead-end food source. Farmers are becoming dependent on Monsanto year after year to supply seeds, and the corporate giant can even step in and sue farmers for trying to replant. Farmers are supposed to save seeds and replant! That is how we have survived for the past millennium. With 94% of soy, 90% of canola, and 88% of corn grown in the U.S. being genetically engineered, and the government subsidizing farmers to grow these crops, and Monsanto controlling the patents on all of these seeds, it is pretty obvious that they are making huge profits. They don’t want us to understand these connections, or the detrimental effects of GMOs. They don’t care about how sick GMOs make the population. They want this, and they must be stopped.
That is why we marched 313 miles last fall with the Right2Know March to demand GMO labeling, that is why we Shopped for Truth at Trader Joe’s to uncover why they won’t label their brand, that is why our family has committed to shop exclusively Non-GMO, and that is why we are continuing to march and educate on the dangers of GMOs, so that we can reach as many people as we can to deliver this message. We are parents, our children NEED us to speak up. If we don’t, who will? We are truly the change we have been seeking. Our children are depending on us to wake up the world. And, it doesn’t have to mean conflict with the powers that be. Through peaceful non-violent protests, educational opportunities, and continuous connections with conscious souls along the way, we are collectively standing up and speaking out to create change one family at a time.
So, what can you do? Take steps to eliminate GMOs from your diet. Choose one of the top contenders first, like corn, or soy, or canola oil. Check what is in your cabinets and read the ingredients. If it has these foods listed and does not have either a Non-GMO Project Verified or USDA Certified Organic label, or you know exactly what farm it came from and you understand what their practices are, then it most likely has GMO ingredients. You do have the power to affect change. Vote with your fork and your dollar. For every bite you take that is Non-GMO and every food that you buy that is Non-GMO, you are voting for change in the one way that makes a direct impact, it affects the profits of those in control. You can also support Proposition 37, the ballot initiative in California that would require GMO labeling, and candidates that support this initiative. You can continue to learn and understand the issue, help spread the word by sharing this information with your friends and family, and support those businesses, organizations, and educational efforts that are standing up and speaking out on behalf of us all. We CAN collectively make a difference. We finally are.
We participated in “Shopping for Truth” at Trader Joe’s yesterday in Portland, ME with The Conscious Caravan and our family and kids in tow. We didn’t dress up in hazmat suits, nor did we bring caution tape, but we were on an Educational Mission to ask them to verify their Non-GMO claim on their Trader Joe’s brand. I started off telling the kids we were going on a treasure hunt to find foods that were safe to eat, and to look for either Non-GMO Project Verified, or USDA Certified Organic. They could all pick out a snack and then we would find out what was safe and what was not. Simple enough, right? Educating our next generation on what is in our foods. They gravitated to the fruit at first, and we sorted over mostly conventionally grown produce, only to realize there was only one lone island with Organics, limited selection indeed. Then, they went for the dried fruit and granola and crackers. Normal everyday healthy fare for kids, right? So it seemed.