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.
Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Filed under: Press | Tags: A.C. Gallo, American Halal Company, American Medical Association, BIO, biotech industry, bovine growth hormone, California, Coca-Cola, Corn, Cornucopia Institute, Customers, Democrats, eat-in, facebook, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, Gary Hirshberg, genetically modified ingredients, GMO Corn, GMO Labeling, GMO Soybeans, Grocery, Grocery Manufacturers Association, just label it, Karen Batra, Legislation, legislatures, Louis Finkel, Mark Kastel, Mellman Group, Missouri, Non-GMO Project, OPLIY, Pepsico, poll, Proposition 37, Republicans, Saffron Road, Soybeans, twitter, Voters, Wal-Mart, Washington, Whole Foods, Whole Foods Market, World Health Organization |
Safe Food Action St. Louis outside Whole Foods Market in Brentwood, MO
By Stephanie Strom
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.
Buoyed by what they see as some momentum in the labeling war, consumers, organic farmers and food activists plan to hold an “eat-in” outside the F.D.A.’s offices next month to protest government policies on genetically modified crops and foods. Whole Foods, which specializes in organic products, tends to be favored by those types of consumers, and it enjoys strong sales of its private-label products, whose composition it controls. The company thus risks less than some more traditional food retailers in taking a stance on labeling.
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.
Source: New York Times
Posted: September 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: Alan McNarie, BASF, Bayer, Big Island, Big Island Dairy, BIO, biofuel, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Bitter Seeds, Britt Bailey, Concert, Dow, Dupont, Eden Peart, GM Crops, gmo, GMO Corn, GMO Labeling, Harry Kim, Hawaii, Hector Valenzuela, HI, Honokaa., India, Industry, Island Dairy Inc, Kawaiholehole Farm, Marty Dread, Mendocino County, Monsanto, Occupy Monsanto, Pesticide, Pioneer, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta, Taro Patch Gifts, UH, University of Hawaii |
By Le’a Gleason, Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
On September 17, Honoka’a will play host to a movement aimed at taking back our island food source. The goal is to target Monsanto, a self-proclaimed “sustainable agriculture” company which aims to “protect” what some argue are intrinsic rights that deserve to be left alone.
Eden Peart, owner and operator of Kawaiholehole Farm is among the many local farmers who are fighting back to resist the genetically modified foods (GMO) movement that is increasingly present on the island. “…[in] 1999, as a school librarian I signed up for a teacher workshop sponsored by the USDA and Monsanto called ‘Field of Genes.’ I was shocked to learn that Hawaii is the world center of unregulated GMO field testing,” Peart said.
Peart later attended a briefing to a select group of mainly government officials by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the major lobbying force at local and national levels whose members include Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, Dow/Pioneer and Syngenta. “The BIO spokesman said, ‘We can exploit Hawai’i’s biodiversity for biotechnology’ and ‘Hawaii is a good place to do business, because the people here are passive’,” Peart said.
Companies like Monsanto work to create GMO strains of corn and other produce that are resistant to pesticides and disease and are now doing so on-island. “Monsanto has been given some of the best agricultural lands in the state. Journalist Alan McNarie has documented Monsanto’s influence in the political sphere — donating to candidates and legislators who will do their bidding. They also have benefited from huge state tax breaks,” Peart said.
Peart decided to take action, and has organized “Occupy Monsanto,” a multi-faceted protest to speak out against Monsanto. In collaboration, a panel discussion will take place with speakers including UH Manoa’s Dr. Hector Valenzuela, an Extension Crop Specialist.
Like Peart, Valenzuela has a personally vested interest in the cause. “Because the GM industry, which owns the major vegetable seed companies, has had plans to modify most vegetable species, and because UH had a similar vision, I decided to look into the issues back in the 1990s,” he explained.
But Valenzuela’s search for answers was not always a successful or welcome one. “Some administrators within the UH College of Ag don’t feel that UH Ag professors should be asking questions about the safety of GM crops, nor that faculty should interact with consumers, organic farmers, or members of the public that have questions about the safety of GM crops,” Valenzuela added.
Valenzuela feels that it’s important for the community to get educated, and explained that in Hawaii the number one focus should be to grow food, and not to divert the land for subsidized agricultural uses, such as GMOs or biofuel.
“We are dealing with very powerful companies that control a bulk of the pesticide industry; because these companies have considerable connections with the powers that be in Hawaii and because these companies may exert considerable influence in terms of agricultural policy in the state, I feel that it is important that the community become aware of who they are,” Valenzuela said.
Adding to the lineup of events, reggae musician Marty Dread will perform, with one special song in particular dedicated to the cause, “Say No to Monsanto.” Dread commented that “[the song] came about because I saw a film called “Bitter seeds,” which is a true story of the thousands of farmers in India who have committed suicide because they lost their land and way of life due to corporate farming.
In India alone, a farmer kills himself every 30 minutes because they can no longer make a living. Monsanto is the chief culprit in this scenario because they sell genetically modified seeds that resist roundup (Monsanto’s top selling chemical) so the farmer must spray the field with these awful chemicals and everything else dies except the GMO crop.”
Facts like these are what alarm Peart. “Hawaii [needs] to rise to our responsibility, to using our unique resources to grow identity-preserved (GMO-free) seed for the world. We cannot do that until we eradicate and ban all GMO production. During Harry Kim’s first tenure as mayor, he confirmed that the only GMO crop we had on the Big Island was papaya,” noted Peart.
Peart went on to explain that, “Island Dairy, bought by a huge Utah dairy corporation, is growing and feeding their cows Monsanto’s ‘Round Up Ready’ GMO Corn. This is in clear violation of the Hamakua Agriculture Plan. Now anyone growing natural corn is at risk of contamination. What’s worse is that throughout Hawaii, without the public’s permission, GMO seed companies are now field testing many Genetically Modified crops including sunflowers.”
The “Occupy Monsanto” movement will also protest at Island Dairy, as well as stage a ceremonial planting of “identity-preserved” corn following the upcoming event.
Presale tickets for the September 17 benefit concert are available at Taro Patch Gifts in downtown Honokaa through Sept 16 for $10, or for $12 at the door.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with a panel discussion at 6:15 p.m.. featuring Valenzuela, Britt Bailey, attorney and Big Island resident who helped draft the successful Mendocino County, California GMO-Free ordinance, and Ku Ching Hawaiian Scholar and activist. Music is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For questions, find the movement on facebook or call (808)775-7159 or gmofreehawaii@gmail for more info.
Source: Big Island Weekly
Source: South Kona Youth
Posted: June 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Events | Tags: BIO, biotechnology, Boston, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Convention, Demonstration, food democracy, MA, Massachusetts, Millions Against Monsanto, Protest, Sidewalk Session |
Occupy Monsanto’s “Michael Taylor Resign” protest outside of the Washington Convention Center, April 20, 2012
The biotechnology industry is having a convention June 18-21 in Boston, Massachusetts. In order to attend the sessions you must register for the conference, which costs thousands of dollars. Since we don’t want to give a dime to the biotech industry, Occupy Monsanto, Millions Against Monsanto, and other food democracy groups will be staging our own “Sidewalk Session” on the first day of the convention outside of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. We hope you can join us.
WHAT: A Sidewalk Session – An open mic for activists to share & expose the dangers of the biotechnology industry
WHERE: Sidewalk in front of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
WHEN: Monday, June 18th, at 8am until 10am
WHY: The biotechnology industry is conspiring to unleash more GMOs into the environment along with more toxic pesticides.
Affiliated Organizations include:
Millions Against Monsanto
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. (NOFA)
the LEAH Collective
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Posted: June 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Events | Tags: BIO, biotechnology, FDA, Genetic Contamination, Genetically Modified Organisms, gmo, GMO Labeling, Jack Kittredge, lawsuit, Millions Against Monsanto, Mindy Harris, NOFA, Northeast Organic Farming Association, Organic Food, The Natural Farmer, USDA |
Occupy Monsanto is very pleased to have the support of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. Below is the statement of support posted on their website.
Boston, MA – On Monday, June 18th from 8:00-10:00 AM, NOFA/Mass (the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association) will join Occupy Monsanto and Millions Against Monsanto in front of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to demonstrate opposition to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
NOFA/Mass maintains that Genetically Modified Organisms are a major threat to the organic farming community, pose a serious health danger to consumers and animals, can have an enormous detrimental impact on plant biodiversity, promote a monopoly in the seed industry, and can increase pesticide use nationwide. “GMOs do not diminish when released into the environment as they are an alteration made to a living organism that can reproduce. Even small amounts of GMO contamination will increase over time after they are released into our agriculture and environment,” explained Jack Kittredge, NOFA/Mass Policy Director, Organic Farmer and Editor of The Natural Farmer, NOFA’s quarterly news magazine.
Unfortunately, the biotech industry has prevented any serious regulation by the federal government of releasing their products onto the market. With the USDA’s most recent deregulation of genetically modified alfalfa, sugar beets, and varieties of sweet corn in 2011, anti-GMO sentiment has been growing. Consumers, healthcare providers, community leaders, farmers, parents with children, and activists alike have joined in calling upon the FDA to label genetically modified foods in the US. “The biotech industry is well-heeled and has done a good job of slipping GMOs into foods eaten by most Americans without their knowledge,” said Mindy Harris, NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator. The organic certification process or Non-GMO Verification are the only assurances consumers currently have to guarantee that they are purchasing products which do not contain GMOs. Every other processed product on supermarket shelves is likely to be contaminated with genetically modified ingredients.
In June of 2011, NOFA/Mass brought their opposition to GMOs directly to the federal court. Joining over 80 plaintiffs nationwide, NOFA/Mass filed a federal lawsuit against biotech giant the Monsanto Corporation (OSGATA v. Monsanto), seeking a Declaratory Judgment that would prevent Monsanto from filing future unfair patent lawsuits against small farmers. The biotech giant has a litigious history; pursuing aggressive investigative techniques, including trespassing on private farm property and asking for large settlements which devastate small farmers.
Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute for Responsible Technology, has been the leading consumer advocate promoting healthy, non-GMO choices. Smith will be a keynote speaker at the NOFA Summer Conference at UMass Amherst, August 10-12, 2012. He will provide anti-GMO organizing tools, and explain the problems with GMOs. His second book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, is the authoritative work on GMO health dangers. Smith explains in plain language the dilemma facing consumers: “It looks the same-the bread, pies, sodas, even corn on the cob. So much of what we eat every day looks just like it did 20 years ago. But something profoundly different has happened without our knowledge or consent. According to leading doctors, what we don’t know may already be hurting us big time.”(Urban Garden Magazine, Nov 2009
For more information on NOFA/Mass’ Anti-GMO policy initiatives, please contact Jack Kittredge – firstname.lastname@example.org; 978-355-2853.