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.
Activists to Prepare & Share “Stone Soup” to Protest
FDA’s Antiquated Policies on Genetically Engineered (GMO) Foods
COLLEGE PARK, MD – Alarmed by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) outdated and pro-biotechnology industry policies concerning the labeling & safety of GMO foods sold in America, safe food activists will hold the largest protest to date at the FDA to demand immediate policy changes. On Monday, April 8, concerned citizens traveling as far away as the Midwest will descend on the FDA for a day-long “Eat-In” outside the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition located at 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740. Organic farmers and backyard gardeners will bring organically-grown vegetables from their region that will be combined in a huge cooking pot to make a special, GMO-free “Stone Soup” that will be eaten in protest as a picnic-style event outside of the FDA.
WHAT: “Eat-In” at the FDA for GMO Food Labeling and Food Democracy.
WHERE: Sidewalk outside of the Food And Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway College Park, MD 20740 – Directly across the street from the College Park Metro Station (Green Line).
WHEN: All day, Monday, April 8 from 8am until 6pm – From 8am until Noon Safe Food Activists will prepare the Stone Soup and at 1pm the Stone Soup will be served to everyone with a bowl. After lunch, there will be a seed exchange and workshops on various topics.
Last week Safe Food Activists formally invited FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and the staff at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to speak at 1pm while the Stone Soup is being served. In the letter, they requested the FDA explain why they’ve refused to change the official policy toward labeling of GMO foods and to explain why the transgenic Aquabounty Salmon does not merit a GMO label.
“The FDA has a terrible track record when it comes to genetically engineered food,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director at the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “They have allowed GE ingredients to spread through our food supply without labels and they may soon make it worse by approving GE salmon, the first genetically engineered food animal. If FDA wants to actually fulfill it’s mission to protect the public, it needs to reject GE salmon.”
“The awareness is growing in the US, from the grassroots up, of people from all walks of life and from moms to students to CEOs, that are demanding their right to transparency in the labeling of genetically engineered foods. It is time that the FDA fulfill its role of protecting citizens by granting us our right to know what we’re eating,” said Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots advocacy organization based in Iowa. “The folks gathering near the FDA building, and in over 20 states where legislation for labeling is being considered, are a testament to the strength and resolve of the food movement.”
While Occupy Monsanto originally called for the demonstration, there have been numerous groups that have pledged their support for the picnic protest, including Food Democracy Now!, Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, GMO Inside, and the Right to Know GMO, a grassroots Coalition of States for GMO Labeling. There will be buses and vans from across the United States making their way to the FDA with the common goal of getting GMO foods labeled like they are in most industrialized nations.
“There have been ‘Be-Ins’ and ‘Sit-Ins’ but there has never been an ‘Eat-In’ in the history of the FDA,” says Adam Eidinger, spokesman for Occupy-Monsanto.com. “Its shameful the White House has nothing to say about the multiple ‘We The People’ petitions on GMO labeling that have gone unanswered for over a year,” adds Eidinger.
“The fable of ‘Stone Soup’ has been rewritten many times throughout history and will be rewritten once again on April 8,” says Tom Llewellyn, a lead organizer with the REAL Cooperative in Asheville, NC. “One version of the ‘Stone Soup’ tale is about a hungry soldier who, when passing through an impoverished village, announced that he would make ‘Stone Soup’ for everyone in town. The promise of this mysterious ‘Stone Soup’ persuaded people in the small village to pool their resources and offer up their hidden onions, carrots, lettuce, and spices to feed everyone. With all food activists and citizens working together, a greater good can be achieved by forcing changes in the way huge food corporations source ingredients and the way our government regulates food safety,” says Llewellyn.
Nearly 93% of all soybeans grown in America contain man-made, patented genes owned by a very small number of agrochemical companies that the FDA passively oversees. Instead of conducting rigorous independent analyses of patented GMO crops that make up Americas food supply, the FDA has relied on short-term industry studies that were written for profit, not food safety. In a January 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant stated the corporation was open to the FDA allowing GMO labeling, but only if it was done scientifically. “What is more scientific than a patent listing,” asks Emma Hutchens of the REAL Cooperative. “The FDA says that GMOs are not materially different than their non-GMO counterpart, but if the plants are patented there must be a material difference, otherwise there would be no need for a patent. They can’t have it both ways.”
In 2011 and 2012 over a million Americans signed the “Just Label It” FDA petition for GMO labeling, but the FDA has responded with silence. “The Food and Drug Administration is not listening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want honest food labels,” says Emilianne Slaydon, founder of GMO Free DC. “We have signed numerous petitions but we’ve received no response. We only want the same food labels citizens of over 40 countries enjoy, so we are going to enjoy some ‘Stone Soup’ to demand this simple democratic right.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the case of a small Indiana farmer versus the bio-tech giant Monsanto. In the case, a 75 year-old man is being accused of patent infringement by the company, but Vernon Bowman isn’t the only farmer Monsanto is pursuing legally; overall the seed giant has filed 144 lawsuits against 410 farmers, but do the little guys stand a chance against Monsanto? Here to discuss the ongoing battle against the bio-tech giant is Patty Lovera, assistant director for Food and Water Watch.
Political heavyweight Monsanto took on an Indiana soybean farmer today in the U.S. Supreme Court over Monsanto’s patents of its Roundup-resistant seed.
And, once again, Justice Clarence Thomas was on the bench, hearing the case with the other justices. Thomas worked as a corporate lawyer for Monsanto in the 1970s. Thomas has participated in at least one other case involving the company, Monsanto v. Geertson, which resulted in a favorable decision for Monsanto; Thomas joined the majority in that case.
Some have criticized Thomas’ participation in cases involving a previous employer. Monsanto is so used to the question that it gets space on the company website.
Thomas knows something about the subject of today’s case: In 2001, he authored an important decision in this field, J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, which — while it didn’t involve Monsanto — held that new, developed plant breeds are patentable.
At issue today were Monsanto’s patents of its herbicide-resistant seed. Monsanto requires farmers to use its purchased seed for just one planting cycle; they must buy new seed every spring. Farmer Vernon Bowman has not reused any of the soybean seeds hepurchased. However, Monsanto’s patent does allow growers to sell second-generation seed to a grain elevator, where Bowman purchased his seed and has been planting it in some of his fields since 1999.
That’s where Monsanto took issue. It claims Bowman’s use of the second-generation seed infringed the company’s patent rights, even if it was sold by a third party and is not the original Monsanto seed, but descended from it. Monsanto won its case in a lower federal court.
Monsanto typically reaches a settlement with farmers it has sued for patent infringement. This time, The Guardian reports, the case traveled to the Supreme Court because 75-year-old Bowman — already bankrupt from an unrelated land deal — couldn’t pay damages and is fighting the case with literally nothing to lose.
Monsanto itself contributed more than $500,000 to federal candidates in the last election cycle, primarily favoring Republicans. Monsanto spent nearly $6 million on lobbying in 2012, down from its $8.8 million record in 2008. That’s still enough to keep Monsanto the big guy on the agribusiness block — it has spent the most on lobbying by far in the industry since 2008; the American Farm Bureau is the only other to even come close. The majority, by far, of Monsanto’s lobbyists have made at least one trip through the revolving door; in-house lobbyist Michael Holland, Jr., for instance, logged 13 years working for various House Republicans before he jumped to Monsanto in 2011.
The Obama administration pushed the Court not to take the case in the first place, echoing concerns of those filing briefs for Monsanto that a reversal of the lower court’s decision could adversely affect other patents involving DNA, nanotechnology or other self-replicating technology, according to the Huffington Post.
Date: October 12, 2012 To: Councilmember Wendell Young From: John P. Curp, City Solicitor Subject: Resolution — Supporting Labeling of Genetically Engineered Products
EXPRESSING the support of Council for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered products so consumers are informed that the potential long-term risks of genetically engineered products to public health and the environment are largely unknown.
WHEREAS, the City of Cincinnati recognizes that consumers have the right to receive accurate and thorough information about the products they feed to their families; and
WHEREAS, the potential long-term risks to public health and the environment from genetically engineered products are largely unknown; and
WHEREAS, safety studies on genetically engineered products are limited because biotechnology companies generally prohibit their cultivation for research purposes in seed licensing agreements; and
WHEREAS, some independent peer-reviewed research that has been done on genetically engineered crops has reveled problems with liver and kidney functions in rats; deformities and neurological problems in vertebrates; and lower nutrition content in pesticide-resistant Roundup Ready crops; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure that genetically engineered crops are safe to grow, the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that genetically engineered products will not harm the environment and the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that genetically engineered food is safe to eat; and
WHEREAS, the United States federal agencies that regulate genetically engineered products, including crops and animals, have not yet enacted a comprehensive plan to adequately oversee and monitor genetically engineered products; and
WHEREAS, farmers who produce organic or non-genetically engineered crops run the risk of crop contamination from nearby genetically engineered crops; and
WHEREAS, farmers who unintentionally grow patented, genetically engineered seeds or who harvest crops that are contaminated with genetically engineered traits could lose marketing options and face costly lawsuits; and
WHEREAS, a 2008 CBS/New York Times poll found that 87 precent of the U.S. consumers wanted all genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Cincinnati, State of Ohio,
Section 1. That the City of Cincinnati supports mandatory labeling of all genetically engineered products.
Section 2. That this resolution be spread upon the minutes of Council and a copy sent to the following:
1. Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,Washington, DC 20460
2. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250
3. Margaret Hamberg M.D., Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993
4. Senators Sherrod Brown and Robert Portman, United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510
5. Representatives Steve Chabot and Jean Schmidt, United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
6. Food & Water Watch, 103 William H. Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45219
Submitted by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and Councilmember Wendell Young
Props to Food & Water Watch for putting their money where the mouth is. More organizations need to get on board the Yes on Prop 37 train. Of course, we’d much rather have all GMOs banned, but labels are better than the status quo.